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Teaching Artist Spotlight: Liza

Liza Fishbone joined Creative Action last fall, teaching After School at Harris Elementary and IDEA Allen. Coming to Austin by way of St. Louis, she sought out a part-time TA position at Creative Action while working at Art Seen Alliance, a local event production and custom fabrication studio. Though she didn’t have much prior teaching experience, she understood the value of dedicated and encouraging arts mentors.

“The most influential teachers I had growing up were my art teachers, who taught me how to follow my own path and stay true to my work. I want to create a safe space for youth to experiment, explore and create.”

In the past, Liza’s professional work focused on satisfying clients and producers, and the shift to youth education proved eye-opening. “My students are constantly learning,” she explains. “They keep me grounded and have just exponentially expanded my space for empathy. I make it a priority to make sure they feel safe and supported, that they’re capable of anything, and to always remember that we’re learning.”

Liza’s Moon Puppies, who are “larger than life whimsical characters, who have traveled to Earth from the Land of Laughter, on a mission to spread joy, wonder, and sweet dance moves.”

Outside of Creative Action, Liza’s passion projects have in the past “focused on spreading positivity, joy, and wonder.” Her “Moon Puppies” project is made up of 7-foot tall ‘wiggly-giggly’ alien costumes and interactive playspaces, where participants are invited to tap into their childlike sense of wonder and playful interaction. “People react like it’s a form of therapy. To experience a moment of complete absurdity can be such a necessary release.”

 

Liza at work on her national mural project, “Walls Are For Painting, Not People”

Liza’s currently focused on more grounded, socially-conscious projects, like her current work titled “Walls Are For Painting, Not People.” This collaborative, cross-timezone mural digitally stitches together painted letters of the aforementioned title from artists in Austin, San Francisco, Boston, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Asheville, and kicked off on the day of the “No Ban, No Wall” rally at the Texas State Capitol. “By collaborating with artists in different cities, we’re building connections as opposed to barriers.”

The guiding ethic behind “Walls Are For Painting, Not People” will continue to fuel Liza’s future creative endeavors. She considers herself an art warrior—someone who uses their artistic voice to speak truth.

“People connect with realness. I believe as artists, it is our job to share that with the world. Because we’re also storytellers, historians, commentators, and keepers of culture. If we don’t have art, we have nothing.”

 

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