Art Class

By Katherine Buse

There are few teachers at E.K. Powe Elementary who have been there for a full fourteen years, but Malcolm Goff is one of them. And as the art teacher, Malcolm teaches all the students at E.K. Powe in the course of his weekly schedule. Though I chose to photograph Malcolm because he gave me access to a wide body of knowledge and a large range of students, I soon realized I had stumbled into the life of a truly good-hearted person. I was immediately won over by his calm demeanor and his obvious facility with children, whether they were his own or someone else’s.

Over the course of the project, I learned many things about Malcolm’s approach to teaching, about his family, about his history, and about his own artwork. I also learned things about myself: my initial discomfort around the students was replaced by a sort of playfulness that was good for my photography, but also an important lesson in embracing my inner childhood.

A challenge that I set myself in the construction of this piece was to produce a presentation that I felt the students of E.K. Powe would enjoy as much as the adults did. Carrie the Crayon was my nod to Malcolm’s creative spirit: as a narrator, she exemplifies the sense of wonder that Art Class should inspire.