The mission of the Ethics in the Arts program is to explore ethical issues in the arts, through art making and art viewing. This program encourages ethical dialogue and reflection around ethical questions that arise organically when interacting with art. Through hearing from visiting artists and exploring art through dynamic activities, participants engage in meaningful exploration of fundamental concepts that enrich their understanding of themselves, the world, and their relationships with others.

The Ethics and the Arts program supports participants as they broaden their awarness of ethical issues and use their unique voice to explore ideas through art and dialogue. Some questions that often arise are:

  • Identity: What role does a person’s identity have in their art and our viewing of their art?
  • Risk-Taking: What does taking risks look like for artists, and when does this cross an ethical line?
  • Responsibility: What obligation, if any, do artists have to others, like their subjects, viewers, and the general public? How should we engage with an artwork? Can there be plagiarism within art?
  • Intention vs. Impact: How should we navigate tensions between the impact of the art and intention of the artist? What should we do when an artwork is offensive or harmful?

About Our Summer Program

The Ethical in the Arts Summer Program invites rising 7th and 8th-grade students to wonder and create with others! With the guidance of visiting artists and expert ethicists, this half-day, one-week virtual program will be sure to get your creative and critical thinking juices flowing. Participants will engage in four different art forms and learn about the process for thinking and talking about complex ethical issues with other people. Each day a visiting artist will lead participants through a hands-on art activity. This will be followed by a discussion about the ethical issues raised by the art-form, touching upon themes such as identity, values, empathy, power, representation, and communication. At the end of the program, participants will select one artwork to prepare for a presentation in a virtual gallery show.

Summer Program Schedule

  • 12:30-12:40 p.m.: Class check-in
  • 12:45-1:15 p.m.: Hands-on art lesson with visiting artist
  • 1:15-1:25 p.m.: Break
  • 1:25-1:40 p.m.: Creativity time - independent work with one-on-one check-ins with staff
  • 1:40 - 2:00 p.m.: Class art share
  • 2:00-2:45 p.m.: Ethics discussion
  • 2:45-3:00 p.m.: Reflection and wrap up
As part of this program, participants can expect to:
  • Explore the intersections between art and ethics
  • Examine their personal identity and values
  • Develop a robust understanding of ethical leadership and what it means to be a woman in the arts
  • Experience different art media, with guidance from expert artists
  • Engage in various artistic expressions that encourage positive risk taking
  • Feel empowered as ethical leaders and artists
  • Develop critical and creative thinking
  • Enhance collaboration and communication skills

Participation Details

DATES: July 13-17, 2020

TIME: 12:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

LOCATION: Remotely

WHO: The program is open to rising 7th and 8th grade students, both KPS, and non-KPS students. This program is co-ed, and capped at 20 participants.

COST: $300
Scholarships are available.

REQUIRED MATERIALS: Computer with Internet access and Zoom video conferencing capabilities.

Participants who enroll are asked to commit to the full program.

List of 3 items.

  • Jasmin Roberts, Spoken Word Poet

    Jasmin Roberts is a queer trans activist and writer born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Jasmin competes in poetry slams at the national level, and placed 4th overall at the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam competition. They are an alumnus of Oberlin College, and hold a graduate degree in Developmental Psychology from UMass Amherst. Jasmin is active in the queer youth community, leads youth and adult workshops on intersectionality & art as activism, and was the keynote speaker for the 2016 Massachusetts GLSEN conference.
  • Jenny Debanu, Portraiture

    Jenny Debanu paints realistic portraits using photographs as references. Her paintings attempt to explore the intersection between photography and the realist tradition in portraiture. Jenny has shown her work in solo and group shows throughout the country, including several exhibits in NYC. Jenny has a BA from Barnard College and an MFA from Yale University. She has taught at various universities as a visiting artists as well as received several art fellowships, including the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in 2004. 
  • Laura Larson, Photographer

    Laura Larson is a photographer, who also works in film, video, digital media, and writing. As part of her practice, Larson explores the assumption of photography's purported objectivity by taking documentary and poetic approaches in her work. Some of her work has been shown at the MET in NYC. Laura earned her BA in English from Oberlin College, her MFA in visual arts at Rutgers, State University of New Jersey and participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program.She is a professor in the School of Art + Design at Ohio University.

2020 Facilitators

List of 3 items.

  • Dr. Karen Rezach

    Karen Rezach joined the Kent Place community in 2000, and is the Director of the Middle School and the Director of The Ethics Institute. She has a master’s in divinity from Yale University, an EdD from Seton Hall University and is an ordained Episcopal priest. Her doctoral research, “Spiritual Leadership as a Model of Effective Leadership in Independent School,” explores the ways in which educators can bring values and moral awareness in non-religious ways into a variety of school settings. Dr. Rezach has over 20 years of experience as an independent school administrator, including director of the middle school at Kent Place and assistant head of school at St. Philip’s Academy in Newark, NJ. She has been teaching and facilitating workshops on ethics for more than a decade.
  • Ms. Marie Micchelli

    Marie Micchelli earned both her bachelor’s in art education and master’s in painting from Montclair State University. She came to Kent Place in 2014 and teaches art in the Middle School. Among his classes are electives in book arts, portraits and sculpture. In addition to her teaching duties, Ms. Micchelli is a part of the Middle School Task Force for the Ethics Institute.
  • Ms. Ariel Sykes

    Ariel Sykes is the Assistant Director of the Ethics Institute at Kent Place School. She is a skilled educator and teacher trainer with over thirteen years of experience working in philosophy and education. Ariel specializes in philosophy for children (P4C) and dialogic pedagogy, with a focus on ethics and service-learning. She co-founded and organized the NYC High School Ethics Bowl Regional Competition. Mrs. Sykes is an endorsed practitioner of the IAPC (Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children), the world’s oldest organization devoted young people’s philosophical practice. Mrs. Sykes holds a BA in Philosophy of Education from Mount Holyoke College and an MA in Philosophy and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to joining the Ethics Institute, Mrs. Sykes taught a variety of education and ethics courses at local colleges and universities, ran after-school and summer philosophy programs for kids, and developed a philosophy in the art museum program with the Montclair Art Museum.

Want to Learn More?

For more information about our Ethics Institute programs or if you have questions about the registration process, please do not hesitate to reach out at ethics@kentplace.org.
42 Norwood Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901   |   (908) 273-0900
The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School is a first-of-its-kind institute at the primary and secondary school level. We believe that promoting the process and practice of ethical thinking and decision-making prepares people of all ages to be effective leaders and compassionate citizens.