Ashley River Creative Arts
Adjunct Professor, College of Charleston
He has worked with Charleston Stage, Woolfe Street, and Village Playhouse.
Describe what you do:
I use theater arts: drama, improv, movement, and speech in interactive ways to build images and bring learning to life for kids of all ages and abilities in a safe environment.
Why is Drama important?
It is a communication skill.
It’s Picasso from the mural in ARCAE lobby: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”. Over testing and screen time have made kids dusty. Art is cleansing and renewing.
First Art Memory?
There were no school art classes in the 70’s in Columbia so my mother sent me to a neighbor who taught art in her house. She wore a kaftan, lots of makeup, and had flaming red hair. We painted in oils.
Were you an artsy kid?
I was a shy kid. In high school I was in theater and fell in love with the craft. Acting is hiding.
Reveal a non-art part of you:
Gardening. I have a begonia that was rooted by my grandmother.
Those great teaching moments when kids use vocabulary words and make realizations and I see what sticks.
I am in a nice bubble so there isn’t a bad day but the paperwork demands on teachers in general is overwhelming. It is a bad wrench in teaching and puts good teachers under pressure. They will step up but it is too much.
Best Aha moment:
The realization that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.
Why does Art Matter?
It is higher order thinking. It reflects life. In this time of over drilling and high stakes scores, art brings back the soul.
Why are you beautiful?
I am nice. It is my main rule in the class, Be Nice, it covers everything.
Susan Irish is the founder and owner of Fabulon – Center for Art and Education. Each month she inrterviews a different local artist. Contact her at (843) 566-3383.