Learning Change Agent: Tye Johnson

What is your name? Tye Johnson

Where are you from?  Chicago, Illinois 

What organization do you represent? Tye Johnson Artistry

What is your job title? CEO & Founder

How long has the organization been in existence? 2 years

What is the mission and vision of the organization?

The mission of Tye Johnson Artistry is to provide art experiences that heal, inspire and ignite change either personal change or social change. We use art as a means to tackle different issues that directly affect people and help raise money for organizations.  Our vision is that direct engagement with the arts can change the world.  Art can transform the world because art can create an empathic link between ideas and people.  When you can connect with someone on a more deeper or more spiritual level, you are more inclined to advocate for change.

Tell me about the communities that you service through your educational program.

We work with a number of communities, however, the primary demographic that we work with are women and children.

What impact do you think your organization has on learning and education?

We help children to connect with who they are in an emotional sense. Our program works to help develop empathy through art. In our program we talk about different social issues and try to make sure that the students figure out what issues that they actually care about and are relevant to them.  I’m a school teacher so everything that I do has to be relevant, because if one doesn’t care, they are not going to be too engaged. We want to make sure young people have a connection to what is important to them. We try to get our students to understand what hits them to their core. We do the same thing with adults as well with our workshops.

What inspired you to get involved in education or this type of work in the field of education?

When I graduated from college, my undergraduate degree was in studio art and graphic design and I started working at an education media company.  This company created the different media materials used in the classroom.  When I worked there, I went into different schools to do market research and that’s when I discovered that I wanted to be in the thick of it all in a classroom.  I didn’t want to just be on the outside of the classroom, I wanted to get into the trenches of education to actually effect change.  I decided to go back to school to become a teacher. So that’s how it all started.

If you can change anything regarding education and/or learning, what would it be?

I think that I would change the current curriculum, to make it more culturally diverse.  I would make sure that children see successful representations of themselves out in the world.

I think the reason why we have racism that still persists today is because we’re not teaching minority students as well as white students about who they are in a more accurate way. I think that one of the main problems that we have is that the history of black people starts at slavery. It starts with slavery, we’re always fighting, then it’s the civil rights movement and it’s a constant struggle. So, by the time a black child gets to third grade they realize that not only are they not represented, but also their history and culture is misrepresented.  For example, I teach at a predominantly white school, and when I was talking about slavery as I looked around the classroom and observed my black students, it dawned on me that I was teaching this subject-matter wrong. It was like, wait a second, I’m making them [my black students] feel like they’re inferior, and at the same time, I’m making my white students feel superior. I had to change something at that point. I had to go into myself and think about what am I missing; it all starts in Africa with all of the greatness. That’s where the lesson should begin.

 What advice would you give to someone who is in the process of learning something new?

The advice that I would offer is to be real about whatever stage you’re in in your learning and keep progressing.  It’s okay to be afraid, but it’s not okay to sit in those fears for long periods of time. So I would just say keep moving. Every time one gets to that place where you feel like you can’t do something, let courage be your driver.

What does it mean to be a learning change agent?

A learning change agent is someone who opens up doors for other people to have the space, pace and opportunity to learn, understand and care for other people.

Photo Credit: Tye Johnson Artistry

Learning Change Agents are game changers in education. They are affiliated with organizations that are providing meaningful and passion-driven learning experiences to learners of all ages. The featured Learning Change Agents (and their organization) are eligible to receive funds from LEARNtheBrand Impact Apparel. LEARNtheBrand Impact Apparel is a clothing line that consists of limited edition fashion T-shirts that include unique designs that focus on rebranding the perception of learning and education from test-driven and rote memorization to meaningful, relevant and passion driven learning experiences.  Customers and supporters of LEARNtheBrand Impact Apparel and these organizations select the organization(s) to receive a portion of the profits received from each collection. Visit and shop the online store hosted by Threadless. Together we are change agents.

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