Lauren Marie Taylor

Region: Pacific Coast

I have been working with teenagers for eight years, first at the Department of Corrections, and now as an art teacher. Much of my work today comes out of conversations that make us laugh and cry, allow us to be our real selves, talk about things that we don't get to talk about, and think about things that we never thought of before. WE address out experiences of violence, abuse, drugs, gangs, and racism in the context of the artistic process. Many of my students were not born in our region or in this country, and so together we explore the feeling of trying to maintain the roots we do not fully embrace while yearning for acceptance within a community with which we do not fully identify. The children are in the process of articulating their individuality apart from their families at the same time, and so our classroom becomes an alternative family with it own values and beliefs. Through art, we are attempting to form a new and hybridized culture, bridging these differences and creating an original and beautiful civilization that will make us proud.