" Leadership is unlocking the people's potential to become better" --- Bill Bradley.
The quote above says the absolute truth about myself, I'm a work in progress that's going to become better, stronger, and wiser. To master the art of leadership won't be an overnight success, I just know that leadership is something to embrace with commitment, compassion, and dedication.
My name is Kenneth Craig Clemons and I am an Urban Arts Leadership Program (UALP) fellow. The first time I heard about UALP was through word of mouth from past cohorts who graduated from the program. They had encouraged me to enroll while I was an undergraduate at Coppin State University last May. I realized that the people who were telling me to get in to UALP sensed a potential leader in the making. Not only am I extremely grateful that I was selected as one of the fellows, I also want to thank Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Center (LTYC) for the opportunity to be a creative instructor (or art teacher). My personal experience as a creative instructor at Collington-Square Elementary/ Middle School, my current site, has been a great learning lesson, allowing me to see within myself that I have what it takes to be a leader. To my great surprise, I managed to step up to the plate and teach the students some of the art lessons as a first year teacher. The lessons that I'm learning as a creative instructor are something to admire that goes far beyond my experiences either as an assistant or an intern. The feeling to share and engage with the students who are eager to connect with the weekly art lessons within each school quarter.
Leadership is often found within oneself and begins to develop overtime. Even though I was unaware of my hidden leadership attributes, I can say that I have found my voice in this journey. Being a creative instructor allowed me to interact with students within the school ranging from Pre-Kindergarten to the 8th grade. By working with the students I gained a tremendous amount of compassion for the students who engage in the artwork by listening to the students who have valuable answers, input, etc.
I had numerous opportunities to showcase the student's artwork within various locations around the school building. For example, I collaborated with one of the dance teachers to create, with the 5th and 2nd grade students, the artwork and props for a Black History Month Diva Fashion show. The show was a success and I was asked once again to provide more student artwork for our end of the quarter arts program at Collington- Square.
I'm very fortunate to have the experience and opportunity as a UALP fellow to work as a creative instructor for LTYC. I'm aware that my leadership skills are an ongoing process that I will continue to nurture. I would like to leave with another quote that is in sync with my leadership skills...
" The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership"---Harvey Firestone.
Coppin State University, BA in Urban Arts
Artist, Community Artist, and Art Educator.