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Introducing School of Now

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tavisha Khanna, Yasmina Torres, Kailyn Bryant, Roma Nagle, Cindy Santos Bravo, Megan Broughton, Karina Esperanza Yañez and Larissa Gilbert.

We started as a PoC educator and students who wanted to talk about creating a balance in one’s life through mindfulness and camaraderie. Our lunch breathing sessions evolved into quarantine remote learning breathing and connecting sessions. I could see a hunger by the students to think about the world that was changing rapidly underneath all of us so the question was posed, if you could start a new school what would it address and what would students experience?

Creativity and finding the bravery to talk about life through two pandemics brought us closer to our first humanitarian symposium lead by students in collaboration with art and culture consultant, Evonne Gallardo. Interest in interdisciplinary art and the power of creative communities rang true for students and the next phase of the new school came into reality. CalArtians Cindy Santos Bravo, Megan Broughton, and Karina Esperanza Yañez came together after years of considering the next phase of Black Mountain College in the 21st century. Within the course of two weeks, the School of Now came into the world and was visually led by Kailyn Bryant with additional vision by artist Larissa Gilbert.

We know that the foundation of tomorrow will be built through the joy of learning and harnessing a myriad of cultural, social, and emotional access points. The School of Now follows in the visionary footsteps of The New School at Columbia University [1919] and Black Mountain College [1933-1956]. The School of Now views education as an expansive field, far outside the bounds of a school building, of mutual knowledge, healthy relationships, and supportive networks that take shape as civic duties and exciting responsibilities.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Oddly enough, it has all come together smoothly born out of our collective resilience. We do not accept the world as it is and are fearlessly determined to provide youth with the agency to be free with resources to take care of themselves and others.

The struggle is centered on the struggle of the common good and our collective witnessing of continued inequities and oppression toward the BIPOC communities across our country.

School of Now – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are an innovative group of interdisciplinary artists and visionary youth leaders who are doing our best to change from the inside out. We want sustainable change and we know that means living in the present. We want creativity to be the beacon of light as culture evolves into its inclusive future, unlike anything we’ve ever known.

We go with the flow and learn from one another. We listen to learn what needs to be explored, and we provide space and resources for anyone who needs it.

Our platform is not based on geography because the virtual world opened the door for one another to only be concerned with time zones and not financial and geographical limitations.

The School of Now is led by youth with a commitment by interdisciplinary artists to always find a way to dialogue.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Our belief system centers on seeing today, in all of its manifestations, as a valuable source in creating new understandings. As a collective, we are always thinking about art as a social and participatory practice. These complexly inspiring spaces are the root system for the new educational reality we all face. We understand that life is not separate from art, and we honor our mission when we shine a light on a participant’s freedom to think, feel, and process in the safety of the community.

A key marker of a successful conversation is when we hear co-facilitators and guests say that we are holding space for them or that they feel connected. In those moments, we aligned with our collective energy.

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Image Credit:

Graphic Designer, Kailyn Bryant

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