Amanda Barragry: Why I’m an Art Teacher

"The kids will always take you somewhere you're not quite expecting. You should go with them."

That's what makes art teacher Amanda Barragry's class so popular at the New Visions Charter High Schools, her desire to teach art in unconventional ways.

Amanda, who studied fine arts and education at Oxford and Cambridge, likes to teach her students the basics of art but believes that "there's so much more to art than drawing from the figure and painting a still life."

This belief of hers comes to life in the projects that the students do in her class. She taught her students protest art by creating buttons from the wrappers of Skittles candy and Arizona iced tea bottles they were carrying in honor of Trayvon Martin.

They learned about religious icons by creating paintings of modern day influential figures, like President Obama and Michael Jordan, and they learned about utopia and dystopia by looking at today's media portrayals of heaven and hell.

"My job is to get everybody to be confident," she says.

"It's like Picasso said, 'We spend our lifetimes getting back to the place where we were children and we were happy making art.' That's why I'm a teacher, honestly."

Here's an audio slideshow of Amanda and her work at New Visions Charter high schools.

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