Spring 2016 - Vol. 4, No.1

Heidi Upton, Amanda Gulla,
Holly Fairbank, John Toth editors


Maxine Greene Center

In This Issue

Board Report
AE in the Wild
Recent Events
Upcoming Events

Member Partnership
International News
The Library

"My focal interest is in human freedom, in the capacity to surpass the given and look at things as if they could be otherwise."


Greene, M. (1988). The dialectic of freedom. New York: Teachers College Press, pg.3.

Board Report


Welcome to our new MGC Board Members! In the fall of 2015 four new board members were invited onto our board, each bringing their own devotion to the arts and education, special set of skills, and particular enthusiasm for the work of Maxine Greene and The Center.

Jon Drescher is a Professor of Practice in the CDUEL (Center for Developing Urban Educational Leaders) Program, part of the Graduate School of Education at Lehigh University. Jon is also the Founding Director, and lead faculty member, of the Urban Principals Academy at Lehigh (U*PAL), a rigorous 13-month Educational Leadership master’s program with an emphasis on creativity and imagination.

Barbara Ellmann has been a teaching artist at Lincoln Center Education (LCE) since 1980 while painting, exhibiting, and creating public art works. Teaching has taken her around the country and the world training artists and teachers in the practice of aesthetic education.  She is a museum educator at The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum, and in the National Partnership Program at the Kennedy Center

Amanda Nicole Gulla is an Associate Professor of English Education at Lehman College of the City University of New York and the Professional Development Liaison for middle and high schools. She has been on the advisory board of the Maxine Greene Center for Aesthetic Education and the Social Imagination, and co-edits our newsletter. Her research and publications include the topics of aesthetic education, poetic inquiry, and the formation of teacher identity. She is also a poet whose work has appeared in several literary and scholarly journals. She is the author of a poetry chapbook A Banner Year for Apples, Post Traumatic Press, 2010.

Fanghua Jiang has held senior positions with various investment management firms, including JP Morgan and Paloma Partners. She retired from being an investment professional as a Partner at Global Endowment Management LP, an investment company based in Charlotte, NC. She co-founded Fudan Fuzhong Overseas Foundation in 2006 and served as the President since its inception until 2014.  During 2008-2014, Ms. Jiang lived in Shanghai with her family and created the Children’s Cooperation Center to promote children’s character education in China.

AE in the Wild


Nick Sousanis

Nick Sousanis, a member of the MGC and ardent supporter of Maxine's work, is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Comics Studies at the University of Calgary. In the fall, he will join San Francisco State's School of Humanities and Liberal Studies as an assistant professor.

He received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and it is now a book from Harvard University Press.

When asked how he came to know of Maxine, Nick writes:

I confess, before I came to Teachers College I had no idea who Maxine was. I happened to be at school in March of 2008 (the semester before I started at TC), on the day she was giving a talk in celebration of her 90th birthday (a few months prior). Someone told me I should check it out, so I wandered in to the auditorium rather clueless as to what I was in for. I was completely blown away by her energy! I left inspired, excited about being a student again and resolved to take her class the first chance I got.

Over the first few weeks of the course, I started dreaming up a comic about her. I quickly opted not to draw her appearance, but rather her presence. I thought about how in her frailty she seemed like an unspun top, motionless, but when she was talking, leading her class – she was that top spun with tremendous force so as to be unstoppable.

Recently, Nick Sousanis partnered with science writer Richard Monastersky to create a comic “The Fragile Framework: Can Nations Unite to Save the Earth”, published in a special edition of the science journal Nature, coinciding with the UN Climate Summit in Paris. When asked how he would characterize the effect his experience with Maxine has on his work as an artist, a "social imaginer" and educator, Nick responded:

I think my time with Maxine and her lived example provides a reminder to always keep your eyes open and moving, to never stop asking questions, and never stop imagining the perspective of another and ways things might be otherwise.

And what is ahead for Nick Sousanis?

Going forward, I want to keep pushing on the boundary between aesthetics and scholarship – and create works that are so equally in either camp that one might not be able to determine in which domain the works belong...thinking that looks like art, and art that is thinking – I feel like Maxine would like that…

Recent Events







Throughout the fall and winter, MGC has been offering opportunities for members to come together with exceptional teaching artists to experience hands-on workshops around works of art.

These events strive to create encounters with works of art and deepen connections to Maxine’s writings on aesthetic education and social imagination.

On March 24th 2016, The Maxine Greene Center and The Truth Telling Project hosted a joint fund-raising benefit at Symphony Space in Manhattan. Both groups share an interest in finding community understandings by way of engagements with the arts and social imagination. Speakers and performers brought music, poetry, and dialogue to advance the conversation on pressing issues of social justice in our time.

The third annual Imagination, Inquiry, and Imagination Institute (I-4) conference, "STEAM Towards Equity", was presented on October 3, 2015 at The College of New Rochelle in collaboration with The Maxine Greene Center. The keynote speaker was Georgette Yakman, founding researcher and creator of STEAM education. The conference theme investigated how Science, Technology, Engineering, Aesthetics/Arts and Math (STEAM) education can promote social equity. There were 12 presenters and a performance of “Wild Hair” by actor and teaching artist Jean Taylor.

In January 2016, the actress/playwright Jean Taylor invited the Maxine Greene Center community to participate in her “Basement Plays” at the Barrow Group Theater. Teaching Artists Barbara Ellmann and Susan Thomasson led a workshop, prior to the performance, guiding participants in a personal journey parallel to elements of the play.


In December 2015, John Toth and Holly Fairbank led a group through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in an aesthetic education workshop specifically inspired by a reading of a work by Maxine Greene. During the workshop, students and educators retraced one of the last visits made to the Met by Maxine, viewing works she cherished, such as Slit Gong from the Vanuatu tribe. Faculty and students from Hunter College, Lehman College and MGC were among the attendees.

Maxine Greene sketch

Upcoming Events

This July MGC will partner with the Urban Principals Academy at Lehigh (U*PAL), engaging two cohorts of principals-in-training in explorations of imaginative teaching and learning These workshops, led by skilled MGC teaching artists, will take place at Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET). For the fourth year in a row these guided explorations of works of art through the lens of Maxine's writings on aesthetic education are an intrinsic part of the leadership Program at Lehigh University under the directorship of Professor Jon Drescher.

Member Partnerships


Leonard Lief Library, Lehman College

Partnership Between the Maxine Greene Center and Lehman College’s Leonard Lief Library Leads to the First Event Co-Sponsored by the Maxine Greene Center and the Lehman College Inquiry and Creativity Task Force.

In November of 2015, the Maxine Greene Center for Aesthetic Education and the Social Imagination co-sponsored an event with the Lehman College Inquiry and Creativity Task Force. That event, held at Lehman’s Leonard Lief Library, was a symposium led by Art Educator and Interim Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education Heather McLeod and Mathematics Educator Jennifer Anderson, both of Memorial University in Newfoundland. They presented research on the impact of standardization and educational testing on arts-based educational programming in schools. The presentation, entitled Create, Present, Respond — Authentic Assessment of Creative Work, brought together students and faculty in education and the arts, as well as K-12 teachers from the community for a discussion of approaches to assessment of creative work in K-12 schools. Holly Fairbank, Executive Director of the Maxine Greene Center attended and helped to introduce the event.

The research sought to determine how to assess and report the impact of a grant-funded arts program for primary school students held at the cultural center called The Rooms in St. Johns, Newfoundland. The presentation led to a lively discussion among students and faculty regarding the effects of standardization on imaginative teaching and learning.

The event was organized by Lehman College’s Inquiry and Creativity Task Force, led by three Lehman College faculty members: Amanda Gulla, Associate Professor of English Education and Maxine Greene Center board member; Limor Pinhasi-Vittorio, Associate Professor of Literacy Studies, and Alison Lehner-Quam, Education Librarian.

The task force came into existence after Lehman’s library received a donation of hundreds of books from Maxine Greene’s personal collection. In discussing ways of using and categorizing the new collection, the task force was suggested as a way to organize events that would invite other faculty and members of the extended community to participate in discussions around inquiry, creativity, and aesthetic education. The task force’s first project was a series of workshops entitled Inquiry and Creativity in Teacher Education: Fostering Dialogue Between Teacher Educators and Arts and Sciences Faculty. This workshop series was funded by a grant from CUNY Central and led to the publication of this article in the journal LEARNing Landscapes. The three task force members were also invited to Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky to conduct workshops for Morehead State faculty and local K-12 teachers.

Lehman’s Inquiry and Creativity Task Force, in partnership with the Maxine Greene Center for Aesthetic Education and the Social Imagination are pleased to have launched this series of events and workshops, and look forward to continuing to foster dialogue across disciplines and institutions.


We encourage you, as a member of the MGC, to contribute your voice to these discussions.


The Maxine Greene Center website includes an extensive Conversations section. Intended as an opportunity for interaction between and among scholars, teachings artists, students and others, it provides a discussion platform for sharing a multitude of ideas surrounding AE and SI. You can view a conversation well in progress, as an example of what is possible, here.

We encourage you, as a member of the MGC, to contribute your voice to these discussions. To help you in this endeavor, here are step-by-step instructions to help you get started.

  • At the top of the website, click Conversations.

A drop-down list appears that outlines the various conversation sections available. All sections are Members Only with the exception of Maxine Memorials. Sign in as a member before attempting to access other conversations.

To begin a conversation, within any section, you must first:

  • Log in to Disqus.

Click login and choose from among several methods.

Once logged in:

  • Proceed to the Conversation section that appeals to you.

You can begin your own conversation topic, or engage in a discussion already in progress.

Most Conversation landing pages include a brief discussion, a reading or a prompt to get you started. For example, should you choose with scholars/research, you will find an initial description of the types of conversations appropriate to this section. A quotation by Maxine, from "Releasing the Imagination" is included as well, for the purpose of inspiring thinking.

A conversation topic: conferences/publications exists, and a discussion (Scholarly Presentations: AE in the Field) has been placed, beneath this quotation, and you might want to start there. You can begin the discussion on this topic, or start your own topic: submit or suggest a post on this page.

This same process can be undertaken within any Conversation section. Please give it a try, and if questions arise, contact us at

The Art of Conversations awaits!

International News


The Maxine Greene Center enjoys friendships with members and website subscribers world-wide. The word cloud here is a visualization of the broad reach of the Center, for your viewing pleasure.


The Library

Maxine's library

Soon we will be adding links and   bibliography in the scholars library

This is the Place to Learn More about Maxine Greene

If you have ever had the experience of reading Maxine Greene's works or hearing her speak live - we know you've been challenged, changed and inspired to "imagine the world as if it might be otherwise." The Maxine Greene Library, on the MGC website, offers the visitor a collection of works written by and about Maxine.

Soon we will be adding links and bibliography in the scholars library that will include publications by teacher educators who have included aesthetic education in their classroom practice.

Please let us know if you would like to suggest other publications for the library on our website.

Membership Info

We Value Your Participation!

The Maxine Greene Center for Aesthetic Education and Social Imagination needs your support. Our mission is to preserve, cultivate and extend Maxine's legacy. While much of this work is well underway, funds are needed now to develop and sustain our interactive website, and to develop other projects.

For a basic yearly fee of $25 ( $10 for artists and students) you can become a member of MGC, keep informed of our events, receive monthly quotations, and be a part of the community in our database. Anything above that amount, of course, would be most welcome! And remember to follow us on Facebook!

Thank you for your generosity! The Maxine Greene Center is a 503 (c ) (3) organization so your donation is fully tax deductible.

Newsletter Design
: John Toth

Upcoming Events

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Our Community

 Become a part of our community:

  • Access the Maxine Greene Library and be alerted to new additions and highlights.
  • Receive announcements on upcoming events, workshops and seminars.
  • Enter our conversations or start your own.
  • Receive  MGI Newsletter.

Click on the links below to subscribe to our community.

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Join the Conversation

Statement in Response

Statement in Response
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Encounters with works of art

Encounters with works of art
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Remembering Maxine

Remembering Maxine
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