Erica, EASE Lead Teaching Artist & Curriculum Designer
For Erica Rooney, “Everyday” is the key word. She has drawn, painted, danced, sung and pushed clay around all her life – doing art every day. She knows the power of the arts to focus and regulate body, mind and emotions. With an MFA in Poetry and licensed as a Creative Arts Therapist in New York State, she formalized what a life of making art taught her: that all learning begins with desire and art harnesses that desire. This belief has infused Erica’s teaching in varied settings with varied ages – Montessori, HeadStart, public school, college.
As a Teaching Artist and curriculum co-designer, Erica was involved with piloting two programs, OWCA and CASTA, both precursors to EASE. Thus Erica came to EASE not only with her life-long commitment to the arts as powerful contexts for learning, but also with hands-on experience growing the program from the ground up in real-time classrooms. The basic premise, to bring PD to teachers, and then co-teach with them in the classroom with their students, blossomed. Happily, this basic premise has brought to Teaching Artist work an extra level of satisfaction and replicability. And it takes disembodied theory off the page and to what Erica feels is the heart of the matter – that teaching is a kinesthetic activity in which we all – students and teachers – teach each other and learn from each other.