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Professor Abedania to Bring Campus Together for “Healing Through the Arts” Interactive Performance

By Justin Kresse

The annual Fall Arts Festival will take place at Adelphi on Wednesday, October 11. The daylong celebration includes several different arts-centered events like a sculpture garden, Chalk Up – an annual event at which students make chalk drawings all over campus –and a poetry reading with performances by the Music Department. But there’s something new this year: a culminating event that will take place on the flagpole lawn from 3:45 to 4:30 pm called “Healing Through the Arts: A Community Act.” This public performance, run by Abedania Abedania, an adjunct professor in the Art and Art History Department, aims to bring the community together to “find new ways to address different kinds of learning styles.”

Photo of professor Abedania taken by Angel Morales.

Professor Abedania is collaborating with the Social Justice Club, the Artivism Club, the Theatre Department, the Art and Art History Department, and some art education students to make this event possible. The goal is to engage Adelphi community members with the message that not everyone can benefit from the more traditional, structured learning environment that most students are familiar with, and to see how best to accommodate those students with different learning styles.

During the event, students from Abedania’s workshop “Acting Up in the Classroom,” will take on leadership roles, running theater games and activities inspired by Augusto Boal’s work for the Theater of the Oppressed. (Boal was a politician in Rio de Janeiro who developed legislative theater to address problems in his community.)

Abedania said they spent a lot of time in the principal’s office and detention as a kid. “Now that I am a pretty seasoned educator and I’ve experienced a lot of kids with that same kind of character, I realize it’s because those kids are often either disconnected from the learning because they’re struggling in some way and they just checked out or they’re super smart and they’re way ahead of the class so they’re just sitting there with nothing to do and then acting up and talking to their friends in class.”

Abedania has worked at the Brooklyn Museum since 2018 and runs educational programs there for everyone from children to lifelong learners to educators. She started working at Adelphi in the spring semester of 2022, but their involvement has only grown from there. She has taught many digital art and photography classes for both art major and non-major students at Adelphi. Her co-worker from the Brooklyn Museum, Noé Gaytan, recently came to speak to her class about his experience running public art programs.

“I’d never done digital art before, so I was really nervous beforehand about how I would do in the class,” said Gianna Campanaro, a senior studio art major who took digital imaging in her sophomore year with Abedania. “It was also her first semester teaching at Adelphi. Rest assured, Abedania made my nerves go away immediately. She has a very `go-with-the-flow’ kind of teaching style that works really well with the different artistic styles of her students. She lets you create projects that filter into your own interests while still following the course syllabus and projects needed to be done. Overall, I really love having Abedania as a professor. She is honestly such a cool person and a great artist and mentor to look up to.”

Abedania applied for and won a faculty research grant from Adelphi this year that has been used for this public performance as well as the workshop she is running. She got her undergrad degree in comprehensive design and a master's in photography, but she’s always been interested in teaching from an early age when her brother was her first student. She was living in Seattle when a youth art center asked her to teach a textile class, and she’s pretty much been teaching ever since then.

Abedania’s workshop “Acting Up in the Classroom” will be running for the rest of the semester on Tuesdays from 6:15 to 8:15 pm and is open to anyone who would like to join. View some of Abedania’s work, including stills from her video project “The Albatross” on her website:

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