On October 30, Princeton Day School Fourth grade classes had a special guest lecture from renowned graffiti artist Mike Baca, also known as "2ESAE." The visit was coordinated by LS Music teacher Julia Beckmann and LS Visual Arts and Design Coordinator Jennifer Gallagher. Baca, a native New Yorker who currently resides in Puerto Rico, focused on cultural influences and suggestions for students about finding their unique voice and expressing it through art. Baca shared examples of public art ranging from current day murals to ancient glyphs carved into cave walls.
Baca, whose work is often lauded for capturing the authenticity of the city and its culture, exhorted students to find their voice and have the confidence to express themselves and their known experiences. He also showed how different cultures use public art as an expression of social commentary when facing injustice. Many of the themes in the examples he shared transcended challenges and focused on fundamental human aspirations of hope, unity and love.
"Virtual visits from artists and other experts in their field bring our curriculum to life and allow students to see their own potential in the real world. Through Mike Baca's visit, students got to witness first-hand the artist, his work and his influences," Julia Beckmann shared.
In keeping with the School's focus on identity, inclusion and mutual respect, Ms. Beckmann is helping her art students explore ways to express their own voice and to understand and respect how others may express themselves. Mike Baca's visit offered a powerful perspective on how one professional artist pursues those goals through his work and as a mentor for emerging artists.
Photos (from top): In grid photo, Mike Baca shares examples of public art; Additional photos of students observing and participating in the presentation.