Comics: Young Artist-Authors

As an artist, I need to be doing art. It sounds simple, doesn't it? It only becomes problematic if I don't do art on a regular basis: I get cranky, less optimistic, less sure of myself.

In the same way, being a teacher is in my bones. I taught high school art decades ago for seven years, and then received a grant to become the school district's Artist-in-Residence for another seven years. Currently, I feel privileged to be invited to go around the country and abroad (or online during Covid), to give lectures, performances and workshops under the aegis of the non-profit Have Art: Will Travel! (HAWT).

Artist-educator intersections flow easily for me: with a friend who wants to try watercolors, with a relative who can't understand abstract art, with an intern in my studio who is eager for me to share my thoughts and experiences. They come naturally when I think about the bully-victimizer, or envision how an ordinary person can become an Upstander and Everyday Hero. I love doing this when guiding interns working with me and HAWT, as we develop a series of comic books for elementary school children. My hope is that it will inspire people to think about being kind to those different, to stick up for others who are being harassed and oppressed.

The comic book presented here by three young college students, Sawyer Ames, Isabelle D'Amico and Abigail Joyce, is a recent issue in our series called Bea the Upstander. It follows a young girl as she gains the confidence to stand up to bullies who are tormenting their victim. Here's where the HAWT mission—Visualizing Justice—takes hold, and art becomes the catalyst for Bea's courage.

—Linda Stein
September, 2020

Linda Stein is a feminist artist, activist, educator, performer, and writer. She is the Founding President of the non-profit Have Art: Will Travel! Inc (HAWT) for Gender Justice, addressing bullying and diversity.