A New Club at GWCS
The GWCS ESTA (Ending Stigma Through Art) Club, newly founded this year, recently completed its first unit on poverty. After introducing the idea of stigma generally, and the negative impacts it has on vulnerable populations and society overall, we educated ourselves about poverty by engaging in discussions, taking quizzes, and learning about related statistics. After discussing and developing an understanding of stigma and poverty, we then spent a number of meetings focused on art that helped to break down or remove stigma about people who are challenged by poverty. We focused on a variety of different kinds of art, including: poetry (by Langston Hughes, Robert Flanagan and Julie Dinsmore), paintings (by Marc Clamage), editorial cartoons (by Jimmy Margulies, Barry Deutsch, and Angelo Lopez), and a TED talk (by Rutger Bregman).
The poverty unit culminated in our group going to the “Evicted” exhibit at the National Building Museum. This exhibit powerfully portrayed the prevalence of the practice of eviction across America, a practice whereby people are removed from their home by court order against their will. This exhibit, through info-graphics, cardboard installations, photographs, and audio interviews, also demonstrated the many hardships that poor people endure due to unstable housing, including hardships related to family life, mental and physical health, jobs, school, and personal relationships.
Additionally, the exhibit emphasized that eviction can happen to anyone from any background. However, the exhibit also noted, based on years of collected data, that eviction disproportionately affects African American single mothers in cities. Finally, this art exhibit left us with a feeling that eviction, and its related hardships, is a problem that can be solved, and that each of us can play a part in the solution.
GW Community School
Ending Stigma Through Art
ESTA Club Student Coordinator
November 3, 2018