Jason Gilmore, a Guilford resident and art teacher at McDonough Middle School in Hartford, was named the recipient of the 2020 Rogers Educational Innovation Fund, a $5,000 annual award for an innovative project for elementary- or middle-school level classrooms.
Gilmore’s project is titled “The Mural Intervention Project,” and he hopes that it will give students of McDonough a way to express themselves. McDonough is a low-income school at which 98% of the student body utilizes free/reduced school lunch, so Gilmore hopes these murals can help students express difficult feelings and take ownership of their living space.
“After 20 years of directing murals with various communities, I know that everyone that participates in the group creative process walks away feeling accomplished,” Gilmore said. “Children especially feel more ownership over their living space than before the project.”
Not only does Gilmore feel these murals can help students express their difficult situations and emotions, but he feels that his project can help spark discussions and elucidate issues that affect many people.
“Hopefully, each mural will invite discussions on what common issues exist and will start to define our hopes, dreams and some solutions to improve everyone’s experiences in the communities of McDonough Middle School, Hartford, Connecticut and beyond,” Gilmore said.
Suzanne Wilson, Neag Endowed Professor of Teacher Education and chair of the 2020 Rogers award selection committee, commented on Gilmore’s project proposal and idea. In particular, Wilson focused on Gilmore’s passion for his project.
“His vision of engaging students in public art in ways that allow them to express their dreams, hopes and aspiration for themselves, their families and their community is inspiring,” Wilson said.
Gilmore has expressed his excitement to put his project into action as a Rogers Educational Innovation Fund recipient, hoping that art’s involvement in the classroom continues to rise in relevancy.
“This art teacher’s hope for developing a learning environment where art becomes part of the school community’s everyday lives is now growing day by day,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore will be formally recognized at the 2020 Neag School Alumni Awards Celebration in the fall of this year.
Thomas Alvarez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.