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Earth day is a special day and celebrates  the world and nature. . Jared Peer, art teacher at UAM, explained how the Earth Day festival started as a staff-led initiative and has since become a beloved community event.

Mr. Peer discussed his position as an art teacher and leader of the Earth Day event, created long before he was a teacher at UAM high school.

“The Earth Day Arts Festival actually started long before I was even here, I’m not exactly sure when it started. But when I came to UAM, and like, became part of the staff there, the Arts Festival was already a thing that existed” 

“Mr. Fonseca, who’s now our principal, helped start that all up. The base premise of it, though, is just to be a fun community event for families, the students and you know, that community come together.” 

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“Earth Day is the premise of springtime, make some art, have some fun. It’s a lot of uplifting sort of activities, and fun times like that. But it’s really meant just to be for the community, and to just have a good time, and welcome in the better weather, as we move towards the sort of the ending part of our year.”

Jared also explained how Earth Day is a moment where he was not acting in his capacity as a teacher, but as a person who is passionate about art and community building.

“I was manning primarily the screen printing booth, where we were making screen printed tote bags, which is a lesson that I do primarily with the ninth graders, and will do so with my fashion class.” 

“I think art has that benefit, maybe more so than some other subjects where there can be a lot of learning that happens in an environment that is a lot more low stakes, and doesn’t have the sort of setting and parameters of that of a classroom.”

“There were a lot of other booths doing similar art, things that allow for that sort of, you know, fun environment, don’t realize you’re learning about things as you’re learning about things sort of energy, which I think art has that tendency and or maybe that easier way to adapt into.”

However, Mr. Peer expressed his opinion on climate change, and how the seriousness of this issue can take away some of the fun from this celebratory day because of how consequential this issue has become in the last decades.

“To describe the social justice eco lens that the Earth Day Arts Festival had, it would be one of the joys that has to go into the social justice work of fighting against climate change. The event itself has to span a couple of different ideas. It has to be fun, otherwise people won’t go to it, and it also has to be engaging and worthwhile for parents.” 

“I think if there was a sort of lens in terms of the social justice aspect of it. I think it was one of like, cultivating joy, a, as through the art making through sustainable practices, things like that. There were a lot of art activities that were just for fun, there was painting, and there was face painting and things like that.”

“But I think it was through the primary lens of like, cultivating joy, because I feel like that’s often the thing that’s maybe forgotten, and a lot of social justice movements is like, creating joy, which is what’s going to really help motivate people to continue when the work gets really hard in the sort of social justice world.”


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