Sun, Feb 18th | 11:00 AM
Michelle Alba has always found joy in the arts and sharing the arts with fellow curious life explorers. Her family offered simple, yet meaningful beginnings, from watching PBS painting shows on the couch with her papa to singing and playing guitar with her mom and siblings. It was in 5th grade that Michelle began to put her energies into drawing and painting. Michelle's pursuits expanded to include photography, video, and acting. Her mentor Craig Anderson solidified Michelle's life-long involvement in the arts and education.
Besides receiving her bachelor's degree in Art Education in 1999 from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Michelle studied art abroad in Italy, co-edited the literary arts magazine Monsoon, performed & photographed for Mango Tribe and the Asian-American Artists Collective, and taught art in High School District 214. Michelle started doing freelance photography in 2003 to capture moments for friends, dancers, and organizations such as The Space Movement Project, JCFS and The Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago.
In 2001, Michelle became a volunteer artistic mentor for Redmoon Theater's DramaGirls program, putting together original performances with girls and fellow women artists for nearly a decade. In 2009, Michelle co-founded Ag47, a creative mentorship program that serves girls in Logan Square. Michelle has taken classes in stand-up with Cameron Esposito and in writing with the Neo-Futurists. Through the educational theater ensemble Barrel of Monkeys, Michelle continues to perform and to teach creative writing in CPS after proudly becoming a company member in 2010.
In 2002, Michelle began her teaching artist career. Michelle has collaboratively devised and taught visual art, photography, theater, and digital media for K-12 classrooms in Chicagoland. She has worked with Arts at the Center, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, and CCAP's Project AIM in Evanston. In addition to teaching arts integration, Michelle has led professional development art workshops for colleagues and at education conferences.
In 2010, Michelle joined the Old Town School of Folk Music family when she became a counselor for the Summer Camp program, where she has loved engaging artistically with campers and teachers. Michelle has also taught early childhood art classes at Old Town School. The Old Town School community inspired Michelle’s love of the `ukulele, and she now hardly travels anywhere without her `uke strapped to her back! After five amazing years of camp counseling, Michelle is thrilled to join the ranks of the School’s new teen summer camp in 2015 as the program’s Camp Leader.
Confirmed by her journey as a learner and teacher, Michelle seeks to develop those same kinds of game-changing learning spaces to foster students' expression, reflection & collaboration. Her ideal vision is of an open, interdisciplinary community where ideas flow as freely as support and laughter, where students respond with curiosity, honesty and empathy as they listen to differing perspectives, where students feel ownership over and pride in the space and work that they've created together, and where we say "YES" to each other through the dialogue of artwork.
Started at the Old Town School in June of 2010
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