» David Greenberg
How did you become an artist?
I had a professor in my teacher education program who demonstrated history lessons that integrated art. As a student teacher I began using art to teach about history, social movements and government. I was lucky enough to fall into a teaching gig in St. Paul as a social studies teacher in the P.A.S.S. program - an interdisciplinary arts integration program. I immediately experienced how art can engage youth, enhance learning, and inspire personal expression. Since that time, art, creativity and expression has been a focal point of my work as an educator; for 14 years I’ve been working to integrate arts across the curriculum, as a teacher and as director of El Colegio Charter School.
What inspires you?
As an educator, I am inspired by the work of young people. To experience a student exploring her world, her identity, and her talents with and through the arts is to witness the power of human beings to grow as individuals and change their communities.
How can art be a tool for speaking out, for creating change in the world?
I believe art is an essential tool for inspiring youth to see themselves as agents of change in their communities.Art is about communication and expression, and youth at El Colegio have much to speak out about and much desire to change this world. They are seekers of justice and equity. At El Colegio, we use art not only as a tool for self-exploration and expression, but also as a tool for community building and social change. Our mural program, in particular, has been a key tool for students to make direct impacts in their communities, communicating messages of hope, fairness, equality, and identity.
How has Intermedia Arts been a part of your story?
On a personal level, Intermedia Arts has exposed me to new art forms, new artists, and new ways of thinking about art as a tool for community building and social movements. As an educator, Intermedia has enhanced my exposure and access to resources that have directly impacted students. Intermedia staff and artists impacted how I saw the arts as an essential tool for education in the social studies. As Administrative Director of El Colegio, I pushed hard to deepen our school’s collaboration with PCTV, which is now part of Intermedia Arts. PCTV has done amazing work with our youth and staff to integrate media into the curriculum and to help our students use media as a tool for expression.
“I believe art is an essential tool for inspiring youth to see themselves as agents of change in their communities.”
- David Greenberg
I believe that El Colegio’s relationship with PCTV and Intermedia has just touched the surface, and I look forward to watching the things the organizations create together to benefit youth.
What is one of your favorite experiences with Intermedia Arts?
My favorite experience with Intermedia is witnessing how the staff of PCTV works with El Colegio students and gives them the power to express who they are, what they believe, and the talents they have. Watching El Colegio students present the work they have done with the support of PCTV and seeing the pride they take in what they have accomplished embodies why I am an educator.
How has art changed you?
Perhaps more than anything, art has connected me to people, opening up the possibilities of my world. As a musician, art has allowed me to connect to other musicians, and when I have been lucky enough to perform for audiences, it has connected me to those people.
As an educator, art has connected me to other artists, educators and youth in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. Art has given me the opportunity to engage in dialogue that I would not have engaged in without art. As such, it has given me the chance to know others and myself at a deeper more intimate level.
What do you see as Intermedia Arts' role in the community?
Intermedia is an organization that demonstrates and promotes the use of art as a tool for social change. Intermedia brings diverse peoples together around issues important to various communities, and it supports people working together across differences to improve their communities. These are roles not actively filled by many other groups in South Minneapolis, therefore we need Intermedia to continue and expand this work.
DAVID GREENBERG is one of the founders of El Colegio Charter School and has worked at the school in many capacities since its opening in 2000. He holds a Minnesota teacher’s license in Social Studies and has worked as an Advisor, Special Education Teacher, Lead Teacher, and school Director. David began his public school teaching career at Highland Park High School in St. Paul. Throughout his tenure at Highland, David was a member of the P.A.S.S. team at the school, working in an interdisciplinary arts integrated program in collaboration with other teachers at the school. During this time David learned the value of arts learning across the curriculum and worked with a number of local artists and arts organizations.
It was through this experience that David saw the potential of such interdisciplinary, art-integrated programming as well as the constraints of the traditional public school system. With three colleagues, David founded El Colegio Charter School, a bilingual arts and language focused public high school in Minneapolis.