‘Consenses’ reached at Martha’s Vineyard schools


Artists, educators, and philanthropists alike gathered in a home in Edgartown on Tuesday for a fundraising event to support a new art-based curriculum initiative, ‘Consenses.’ Sally Taylor, the founder of the program, told potential donors five Martha’s Vineyard schools are piloting the program this year.

The idea began as an experimental art project where Ms. Taylor gave out photographs to begin chains of artwork, each providing inspiration for the next. Eventually, the project spread to artists around the country, and Ms. Taylor was approached by educators seeking to make the idea into a curriculum for students to learn how to use art to connect to one another emotionally.

The program will essentially introduce artwork to students, who will then create artwork in a different medium using the original piece as inspiration. Then their artwork will be shown to another student, who will create art in yet another medium based on what they see in the previous student’s piece. The “art chain” will go from photographs to paintings to music, and so on. Ms. Taylor referred to it repeatedly as a “game of telephone” which will teach kids to communicate through the language of art.

Ms. Taylor hopes the projects will teach tolerance, noting there are few programs that teach emotional learning. She has piloted the program in 16 Boston-area schools, and worked with major institutions such as Harvard, Boston University, MassArt, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council to develop the program.

The private event featured performances by Sally Taylor and several family members and friends, including her mother, Carly Simon.

The program has funding to pilot the program at five schools on Martha’s Vineyard for grades 5 through 12, but still seeks donations to expand, as well as more educators who will carry out the curriculum.