Art as Activism in Clarion Alley

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This fall, the Scott Center team has been co-teaching a Reach Beyond Block each Tuesday afternoon alongside the DEI team and sixth-grade team. The block, titled “Identity and Impact,” is based on a sixth-grade elective taught last year by Scott Center Director, Annie Makela, and Hillbrook DEI Director, Gulliver LaValle, and examines the essential questions of: what is identity? And what does it have to do with making an impact? 

On the morning of Tuesday, October 12th, Identity and Impact took the show on the road! 41 sixth-grade students and seven faculty members embarked on their first field trip since before the start of the pandemic, journeying up 280 by bus in order to spend the day in the Mission District of San Francisco. It was a day of place-based learning, as students immersed themselves in a neighborhood that often looks or feels different from Hillbrook’s home of Los Gatos, but one that very much makes up part of our larger Bay Area community. A particular highlight of the day was time spent among the murals in Clarion Alley, where the sixth-graders observed artists’ interpretations of issues that have challenged their community and the world, as well as people and moments that have brought pride. With the overwhelming majority of the students choosing to get take-out from a local taqueria for a Dolores Park picnic, they also had the chance to connect to the cuisine and key flavors woven into the fabric of the Mission. Read on for some photographed moments of the seeing, thinking, and wondering that occurred as students and faculty alike took in the amazing collection of street art in Clarion Alley. 

Kevin ’24 takes a moment to read the stories of community organizers portrayed as patron saints.
Students, along with Associate Director of the Scott Center, Matt Callahan, and Hillbrook DEI Director, Gulliver LaValle, take in a mural depicting issues of affordable housing and exploitation.
Ava ’24 takes on a mural’s call to action, stepping into a spot inviting onlookers to “Join Us.”
Students talk with Ms. G about their response to a mural honoring George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Olivia ’24 takes a closer look at some fish and butterflies in a mural about climate change and environmental activism.
Mr. LaValle’s group poses in front of street art in Clarion Alley.
Students raise their hands to share some noticings and wonderings with the group.