ARTS CURRICULUM COORDINATOR & TEACHER
Megan Bowers Avina is a Level II, visual arts endorsed teacher and Arts Curriculum Coordinator at the Taos Integrated School of the Arts (TISA). Megan obtained her B.A. in New York City from Parsons School of Design and a teaching degree with a full scholarship from Los Alamos National Lab. Megan has taught at Taos High School through the University of New Mexico. Megan was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2015 for Taos and has won numerous national awards throughout her 15 year career as a newspaper photojournalist. Megan has lived in Taos, New Mexico for 18 years with lots of rescued animals. Megan is most passionate about her son Jasper and hopes STEAM is a big part of his educational experience.
WORDS FROM MEGAN . . .
My first experience with STEAM in a real time classroom setting was through PASEO TAOS and Agnes Chavez, within hours I was sold on the importance of such educational experiences and mediums- I am an advocate and believer in STEAM and real time experiences as a great equalizer in public education. I have watched high risk students become fully engaged in the educational process, with deep and lasting learning taking root, when involved with Agnes Chavez’ STEAM workshops. I am lucky to be working with a school Director who shares my belief and strives to make STEAM a part of our small public charter. Rich Greywolf my Director shared, “TISA is a school committed to the integration of the Arts into the Common Core Curriculum with an emphasis on finding connections between the arts and sciences. This commitment extends the arts into all core subjects: math, science, social studies, and language arts. In addition, at TISA teachers collaborate with professionals in the field to enhance student’s learning and understanding the aesthetics in science and art.American scientist, Richard Feynman discussed the symbiotic relationship between science and art, in a BBC interview in 1981. A monologue which has now come to be known as “Ode to a Flower.”
I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than [the artist] sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how [science] subtracts.
THE ROAD AHEAD:
The next step in TISA’s journey is to explore the relationship between art and science, through dance and movement, music and math, pigment and light. Our hope is bring greater integration of technology and art into the hands and minds of our students.