What do art, kids and survival have in common? Just ask Tim Rollins.
An artist and educator, he transformed a group of at-risk students in the Bronx, N.Y., into artists who have exhibited nationally and internationally. You can hear about his experiences at 7 p.m. April 5 at the Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.
Rollins will be in Savannah to give the keynote speech for the biennial FATE conference, hosted by Savannah College of Art and Design's School of Foundation Studies.
FATE, which stands for Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, is a national organization dedicated to promoting excellence in first-year studio and art history courses at the college level.
In the early 1980s, Rollins started what he called Art and Knowledge workshops to integrate art, writing and reading into the lives of at-risk middle school students. These students called themselves "kids of survival" or K.O.S.
According to the group's biography, "Tim Rollins and K.O.S.: A History," on the first day of school, Rollins told his students, "Today we are going to make art, but we are also going to make history."
And make history they did. Rollins found a way to connect art and literature with his students' personal experiences and, in so doing, altered the way many perceived these individuals and fine art itself.
Rollins turned the notion that fine arts are reserved for a select few on its head, and his work continues to show that we can all engage with art and discover the ways in which it is uniquely relevant to our lives.
As educators, we have years of formal research and theory that informs how we teach foundations in art, yet this simple truth - art is for everyone - is what made Rollins' project so successful.
It is also why 484 educators from all 50 states and six countries, including New Zealand, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Canada and England will fill the Lucas Theatre to hear him speak.
Just like these educators who are coming to Savannah to rethink ways in which to propel their students on the path to becoming innovative, knowledgeable and creative artists and designers, you too will find inspiration for whatever it is that you wish to reimagine.
Please join us as we welcome Tim Rollins to Savannah.
Maureen Garvin is dean of the School of Foundation Studies at Savannah College of Art and Design.