Videographer | educator | spread the knowledge, spread the power
"Growing up, I was fascinated with the power of the screen. When I spotted a video crew on campus at Howard University, I realized that the medium that resonated so much with me didn’t have to happen far away: it could happen here and now. I’ve never looked back. In the thirty years since then, I’ve meshed my training in both criminal justice and broadcast production into a career as a videographer, digital specialist, and arts educator, working with students of all ages in Washington, D.C. and beyond. I’m grateful to serve as a role model of a professional, artistic technician and thrilled to work within diverse communities of color. Throughout it all, my central questions remain the same: How can we create informed, confident, and invested youth? How does absorbing and creating media mold our beliefs and those of others? How can we effectively and compellingly capture messages that can enact change?
Learning how to create messaging allows us to absorb messaging more thoughtfully, and vice versa. Taken together, they’re a potent force. I call it media savvy. I’ve made it a central theme in my life to help others—particularly kids in less-privileged areas—gain access to this invaluable skill. Working in the urban center of Washington, D.C., I’ve found that my students are growing up down the street from the most influential lawmakers in the country but they often feel less than equipped to be part of the national conversation. I developed Media Savvy Workshops to combat this impression of helplessness—and to make media creation fun. Creativity is a balance of urgency and play, and our sessions are lighthearted and supportive, whether they’re focused on beginning flipbooks or a fully-edited PSA. I always tell my students: 'Great ideas and stories are not just for your consumption. They are also for your creation. The best stories are the ones happening to you now, in your head, in your home, in your communities. Let’s bring them onto the screen.'"
Arts and Humanities Education Philosophy
I love smart children, and I believe that every child is smart. I make a point to mark and celebrate small victories and assure all students there will be many more if they take the time to plan, adjust, execute and complete. Our programs enrich lives with supportive, listening, creative environments of information exchange and learning. Children are always watching and listening, making all of us teachers and role models every day. I’m honored to be laying a path for them in their media journey.
Why is Denaise an advocate for arts and humanities education?
At Howard University, my own teachers emphasized time and again that producing art requires both finely honed technical skills and a sense of wonder. In my workshops today, I take a lighthearted approach in communicating subject matter and practice, whether my students are making their first flip-books or editing a feature production.
It’s more important than ever to be informed consumers of information. In the last decade, our media landscape has transformed. We are saturated with media, from the 24-hour news cycle to on-demand digital platforms. My goal is to leverage my particular expertise to challenge the next generation of thoughtful, informed and discerning citizens.
How does she promote arts and humanities education?
A video production is a vibrant biosphere for group learning: it requires listening skills, trust, some determination and loads of perseverance. Whether constructing their first flipbooks, or editing a PSA on serious issues in their lives, students are challenged in risk-taking roles and group exercises which forge confidence and self-assuredness. We regularly discuss ideas of privacy, messaging, sourcing, and criticism, all of which are pillars of a healthy online and media presence. These skills transfer not only to future video projects but in life.
Media Savvy Workshops leverage videography skills to challenge the next generation of thoughtful, informed and discerning citizens. Through hands-on activities, our programs invite students of all ages to become “media savvy” in more than one way: they produce their own video and animation work and develop the critical-thinking skills required to navigate the globalized, 24-hour media landscape of the twenty-first century.
My workshops serve folks of all ages, from elementary school students to adults. I pay particular attention to the age group 17-21, who may have aged out of traditional arts programs. I often hire prior students as paid teaching assistants, emphasizing that their arts skills have practical, valuable, and economically potent value.
I’ve had the pleasure to work with more than 1,000 young people and counting, through public schools as well as in community spaces. My vision includes expanding the curriculum to provide advanced classes, continuing education, and even international exchanges. As a videographer, I work with nonprofit agencies and independent artists, promoting their work in the digital realm that is so powerful today. I’m privileged to have received support from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities as well as to found AniPalooza, an annual produced animation showcase.
Partnership with the DC Collaborative
DC Collaborative member since 2018.
"As a brand-new member of the DC Collaborative, I’m finding the experience to be very fortifying. It’s the feeling of being a single blade of grass, in these grassroots efforts, and finding yourself in a field (with wild flowers)."
Arts and Humanities for Every Student
Denaise is an AHFES Provider! Teachers can view her AHFES Catalogue here.
Fun Fact! Denaise says "Saturday mornings I can be found in Deborah Riley’s Modern Dance class recharging, smiling and enjoying life."
Contact Denaise: firstname.lastname@example.org