Why Consenses?

Inclusive and engaging, the Consenses Curriculum has been used in schools nationwide to promote all five of the core competencies necessary to SEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. Here’s what educators, families, and students say about this transformative educational tool that introduces fresh perspectives and inspires new ways of thinking:

At the beginning of the class the students were shy, especially Bethany. Bethany was a little reticent and said she couldn’t think of a title for the fragrance she and her classmates were smelling. After we went around the room and the other students read their titles out loud and talked about what images the fragrance evoked for them, Bethany gained confidence and joined in the class discussion. She read her title for the fragrance and told the class why she selected that title. It was amazing to see her transformation. Her whole face lit up when she spoke. After that, all of the students got very excited about the next project – the interpretation of the painting – and they were talking up a storm. At the end of the lesson all of the students had an AHA moment! They all GOT IT! Especially Kalub. He was visibly awed by the knowledge that dawned on him. It was written all over his face. He said he could never go back to his old way of thinking now that his mind was opened up to seeing different perspectives.
Susan Block, 9th grade Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Consenses Teacher
OMG What a great Class!!!! Again thank you all for making this happen for our kids. Kiely Rigali 8th grade Edg
It’s been extremely inspiring, and profound to see everything from a different angle. As an artist, it’s very easy to be caught up in my own perspective, so this has been an eye opening, humbling experience. Arreanna, Berklee Student
To say that Consenses was life changing would not be hyperbole but rather a simple statement of fact. From the moment my colleague Janie Howland mentioned the project in a yearly review session to the moment the last bit of installation was loaded out of Wellesley College students faculty and staff were enveloped in a creative tsunami. As the Director of the Theatre Program for over two decades I can honestly say that this was one of single most satisfying exciting energizing and community building experiences we have had. From the moment the idea of bringing it to Wellesley was proposed through all the myriad details that needed to be addressed, not one single person failed to see the potential for it. It brought the community together in the planning, the execution and the experiencing of it as an entity. Students were exposed to the work of artists from around the globe, faculty were energized by the creative surge that accompanied every portion of the exhibit. And lastly, but not by any means least the community at large (on and off campus) was brought together in a time of deep divide. Consenses will be remembered and talked about here long after this academic year. To the world at large I say "I heartily endorse this for the positive and life affirming affect it has on all who see it, create and endorse it." Nora Hussey, Director of Theatre and Theatre Studies, Wellesley College
(In A Letter to the Headmaster) How are you? I’m sorry I did not get to talk with you after Sally Taylor’s presentation this morning. I had to write a quick note to say how wonderful it is to have a program like this brought to the school. I found her presentation to be very inspirational and important – not just for art and music students but also for all students – and adults. Working together, listening to other people’s perspectives, hearing what other people bring to the table, using all of our senses in interpreting the world around us, and doing so without worrying if we’re “right” or “wrong” – she is making a program that speaks to each person and to help people grow both individually and together. Personally – I left inspired for the rest of my day! And on a larger note, wouldn’t it be wonderful if this program could be brought to all of the CHS students, rather than such a small number? If there is a way to do that, it should be explored!

I look forward to talking with Alec later today about how he was affected by Sally’s presentation as well as his own experience of performing an original song before the group. Thank you for supporting this program today and I hope it leads to more! Kristen Bellotti, Coventry Public High School, RI
Consenses was one of the highlights of my semester. Your project is so creative and inspiring and I feel so grateful to have been able to participate in the process! It really reminded me how important it is to be open to a variety of perspectives and experiences. Erin Snyder, Berklee Student
Sally, you get the golden glove for utility infielder work: an exhibition that glows from both your art and your curatorial acumen, and that so far has been enjoyed by over 28,000 patrons; but also your work in the local classrooms with another lucky 80 kids; to say nothing of the 880 kids who came to your class-time art assembly concert. That’s great, but what touched me was the single young girl who wrote a poem that you insisted on setting to music. Joe Thompson, Director of MASSa MoCA
I cannot thank you enough for helping me remember that I AM an artist. I am so grateful for your time and wisdom. Ryan Kane, Emerson Student
I think Consenses has been one of the most enlightening, eye-opening projects I have learned about in a very long time and it has truly changed the way I will perceive and understand art for the rest of my life. At first I wasn’t sure what it meant or the process behind it but as soon as you explained it I fell in love with it! I think this relates to all mediums of art, entertainment, and life. I also found it fascinating how most of the chains came full circle and every piece in some way related to the original image. I can’t say enough about the project and I’m going to keep sharing it with others who would appreciate its purpose and reason for being created. I can say this is a project I will never forget and I’m so excited that Janie is going to continue it though our semester! I hope that I can work on a project as inspiring and exciting as this during my career. Thank you so much! Lissette Velez-Cross, Emerson Student
It was a pleasure to work with Sally on her Consenses project. She has a thoughtful approach to deepening the connections among the arts. Her curriculum is thorough and provides many access points for children of all abilities to evolve as creative beings. And the exhibition: imagine being a child whose art inspired musicians like Carly Simon and Natasha Bedingfeld, dancers, poets, photographers, painters, sculptors, perfumers, and even chefs! Sally has a keen way of bringing the best of the arts to audiences of all ages Laura Thompson, Curator of Kidspace at MASS MoCA
I was recently asked what my writing process used to be like compared to what it’s like now and my response was that my writing process used to be a furrowed brow and a desperate pen. Now, it’s the act of discovery as a small child on Christmas morning opening a box of ribbon. The experience of responding to an image and writing from the essence of that image has been one of the most rewarding and art changing experiences of my life. This experience brought me deeper into my current process from ‘writing,’ to asking the question: ‘What wants to be written?’ My process and my songwriting went deeper and have become more honest through this process and will echo through every piece I witness as a writer forever. Scarlet Keys, Berklee Professor Advanced Songwriting
I think Consenses and its presentation was very grand. To see us all working together while not knowing who you are working with or even what age, it was very grand when everything was revealed. 5th Grade, Charles River School Student
Thank you so much for sharing Consenses with us. It was wonderful to hear you speak about the project and the inspiration behind it. I appreciate and cherish more how people around me see life, and while it may be different from my own perspective, it is equally valid and genuine. Ray Brown, Berklee Student