The Monroe College Art Collaborative Club


June 2016

Professors’ Corner Featuring James Young

By Professor James Young

I don’t think of myself as an artsy person. I rarely go to museums, subscribe to art magazines, or read a lot of classical literature.  And unlike the stereotype for Asians, I don’t play the violin nor have much knowledge of the martial arts.  I don’t have a trained ear for music or sharp eye for paintings.  In fact, I don’t think I could spot the difference between a Picasso and a Pollock without the assistance of Google.  So, under that narrow definition, I am far from being artsy.

Yet, I do possess characteristics of an artist.  I consider myself a creative thinker.  I work on building community here at the college as I work in “concert” with faculty and staff to make the school safer and more efficient for students.  And I do that using a keen sense of perception, identifying patterns and problems, then finding creative solutions.

For example, a few years ago, I noticed students sometimes were more concerned about charging their devices than on the lesson for the day.  So I bought a locked crate to keep extension cords in the classroom for students to charge their phones or laptops while in class.  I also encouraged the use of these devises in class by asking students to take notes, look up information, and shared various apps to increase learning.  I did all this by noticing a pattern of distraction in the classroom, and then used that as an opportunity to connect with students using their digital devices.

So how is this all related to art?  Well, I think my ability to recognize patterns, think creatively, and go with the flow has to do with my love of dancing.  When I first learned how to partner dance (Salsa, Huslte, Cha Cha, Merengue, Waltz, etc.), I realized it was all about connection.  I had to be connected with my body and develop a keen sense of myself in order to move correctly.  Along with my body, I learned how to use gravity to work speed up or slow down my steps.  Combining my sense of self and gravity with music added a third dimension to movement, which was incorporating timing and rhythm.  All of this worked nicely when dancing by myself, but as I stated earlier, I learned to partner dance, so that was only half of the practice.

When I learned how to carefully keep time, move my body and use gravity to my advantage, I then started to find a new connection – another person.  When dancing with someone else, everything I knew changed depending on how skilled my partner was.  This taught me to be flexible and to adapt quickly.  If my partner was new, I would only lead simple steps.  If they were too stiff, I would add a little muscle to lead them in a turn.  In some dances, I would change my footing to match theirs even though I was leading so that they could simply have fun dancing without being too concerned with their foot patterns.

I have spent over 20 years taking dance lessons, dancing for fun, and teaching dance.  I suppose in hindsight, I do participate in the arts, and have found it quite beneficial.  Students in my classroom tend to appreciate the abilities I have cultivated all of those years on the dancefloor when they tell me that they like how I seem to make the lessons match them individually, yet still complete the work listed in the syllabus.  Personally, I have learned not just to lead, but to follow my students, as exampled earlier in following their need to have digital devices as part of their learning experience.

I still don’t think of myself as an artsy person, but that identity doesn’t mean that I haven’t benefitted from the arts.  To that point, my students at the college may have unknowingly benefitted from my participation in the arts as well.  Have you?




Picture by Jocelyn Reeves-Wright

The Outcome Poem

By Aaron Shawe

Knock on the door.

Death opens the door.

When inside to sit down next to life.

God supposed to come later on.

For now I’m looking at Faith and Pride

Pride always proud of winning ace of spaces.

Envy hated when Pride win card games.

Wrath showed up late and dislikes everyone in the room.

Laziness roll around on the ground wondering when a job going to come to him.

Laziness love sleeping 18 out of 24 hours a day.

Greed came out of his room then proceeded to open the icebox.

He ate all the food in the icebox and he was still hungry like an elephant.

God enters the room.

Everyone stands still waiting for the pizza guy to deliver pizza.

Life welcomes God with open arms.

Pride and Wrath ask God if he wants to play UNO.

God says yes.

Envy asks me to join.

Everyone sits at the table.

With their UNO cards.

Death and Life.

Envy and Greed.

Laziness and Lust.

We all team up with each other.

Except for me and God getting singled out like Jokers in a deck.

Card game getting more intense than an anime series.

Everyone at the table wins at least one game.

Eating triangle-shaped food with cheese.

At the table everyone tells a joke.

While trying to win the next game.

They call UNO quicker than a pack of wolves tackling a deer in the woods.

Wood on table is a little dusty.

Cards are colorful like a rainbow.

It starts to rain outside.

Playing UNO until someone gives up.

No one budges an inch.

Fear busts down the door.

Hope follows along.

Life and Death.

Envy and Greed.

Laziness and Lust.

Let them join the UNO game.

Me and God looking confused.

Fear make people feel paralyzed.

Couldn’t blame them.

Look into his eyes and you’re a goner.

Hope got people to believe there is no need to give up.

Looking at hope gives inspiration to anyone looking at hope.

UNO continues for hours.

Devil and Jesus fix the broken door.

Devil was an angel that fell hard from heaven.

People blame him when they make mistakes.

Jesus was son of man but his father abandoned him.

Jesus wasn’t the only son of God at the UNO table.

Everyone at the table playing UNO.

They saw stress running in the rain.

Happiness live on the streets because he couldn’t afford to get on with life.

Love got caught in a burning building.

Hate ain’t going to rescue love because love did him dirty.

Love lead him to meeting depression.

Fear and Hope.

Life and Death.

Envy and Greed.

Devil and Jesus.

Me and God.


About the Author

Aaron Dexton Shawe is a Business Management major at Monroe College.

In His Own Words

My name is Aaron Dexton Shawe and I grew up in the cold streets of Harlem. I hope to publish a book to enlighten the minds of my generation. These days, I’m looking to improve myself to be a better person because I want to be a role model. I would like to be a person who is successful and travel the world. When I write poetry, I listen to the hip-hop music I grew up with, which is what inspires me as an artist.

My Instagram is @akidwithdream and my e-mail is

We’re All Mad Here

Picture by Jocelyn Reeves-Wright

The Old Man


An old man realizes his time to leave Earth is almost here, but he handles it with grace.

His flower clock is his natural time line and winter represents it ending.


By Rejeive Walker




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