By Kalina Gallardo
To teach is to create art; art is a combination of mind and body joining to create something bigger than ourselves and share with the world around us. It’s fitting to infuse art into the pursuit of educating. My experience as a student at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy, the expansion of my thinking, and my eagerness to learn is truly beautiful to witness, complex to analyze, interesting to discuss, revolutionary to the people I touch, and ever evolving, much like a piece of art.
I define myself as a piece of live art. I am a student of the world and an observer of all, not entirely sure if this is unique from my own compilation of interesting classrooms and engaging educators, or if it stems from a wonderstruck mother always questioning the norm, and answering it with her own unconventional ideas. Whatever it might be attributed to, I am grateful, because I can pick my own brain, read my own reflections, and tap into my own ideas in order to explore and find a need to accumulate more and more knowledge. This passion for knowledge comes from being immersed in a balanced place where the flexible freedom of art creates a strong, durable foundation for learning. This is learning in its most pure form; it’s learning with an open mind and using creativity as a vibrant color to paint on to the canvas of your mind. This is what the teacher as an artist is capable of achieving.
Tonight I had the incredible opportunity to enjoy world premieres of short plays written by students in a local theatre’s young playwright program. These plays were thought-provoking and questioned the core of our society’s downfalls by confronting topics ranging from hoarding mothers and bi-racial discrimination, all the way to drunk politicians and the fragile institutions we rely on such as the American government. I found myself in this theatre because of one adult, whose short span of time in my life left a significant mark. This woman is my middle and early high school drama teacher, Mrs. Kehm. She creates masterpieces for a living. She directed the handful of plays I’ve performed in and is the biggest proponent of using the tools of performance to act out your dreams and visualize a beautified reality. It was in her class, practicing improv theatre, where my passion for being on stage flourished, my love for working as an ensemble developed, and I became eager to take risks and say yes to a challenge. These skills I found in my theatre class have empowered me to pursue a life in public engagement and a purpose in disrupting the cycle of socialization through building difficult relationships, exploring new settings, and taking action with my voice and my story. Mrs.Khem has made art. She has dedicated her heart, mind, and body to help mold me into something special to share with the world. Teachers do more than provide expertise on a subject they have mastered; teachers evoke knowledge, share insight, and learn from their students. Teachers are the artists of education, the creators of something so beautiful and human, and when schools can unite to foster this harmony of learning, thinking, and being, art is created, and the whole world can enjoy it.
Kalina Gallardo is a rising senior at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy in southwest Denver and leader of the DPS Student Board of Education. Kalina uses the power of her voice and evolving network to infuse creative education in improving the world around her, for generations of learners and leaders who follow.