Teaching Artists Gavin Bernard and Paras Chaudhari navigate challenging circumstances and search for solutions alongside resilient and creative Atlanta Public High School students.

The real, uncensored conversations exist to be an inspiration for other youth-serving educators to share stories of their own work.

the hosts

Gavin Bernard and Paras Chaudhari are both creative professionals that began this journey without prior classroom experience.

With a passion and commitment to being the people they once needed, the two apply  their experience in screenwriting, design, filmmaking, and theater to guide students through the storytelling process.

the students

Visual Artists, Lyricists and Rappers, Actors and more. See what happens when the playing field is leveled and the students are given tools, resources, and pushed to be the best artists they can be.

the mess

The Mess comes in different forms.

For students, it is a lack of access and exposure to mentors and resources. They are hungry. They don’t feel safe in their own neighborhoods.

For Teachers, the Mess is trying to figure out how to get the students to care when you cannot serve their immediate needs. 

To Embrace the Mess is to:
  • Level the playing field between Educator & Student.
  • Adhere to the same standards you hold your students to.
  • Be a Listening Artist before being a Teaching Artist.

the history

Embrace the Mess is an evolution of re:imagine/COMMUNITY, an in-school program founded in 2015 by re:imagine/ATL, in which students produce videos for corporate and nonprofit clients focused on a social issue.

When Program Director Julie Foster-Straw brought in filmmaker Paras Chaudhari, he noticed a gap in the program. Educators were not equipped with the tools needed to create quality content with their students, and students were tasked with telling other people’s stories before knowing how to express themselves.

With incubation sites at Frederick Douglass High School and Forrest Hill Academy, Paras brought in fellow creative Gavin Bernard and adjusted the program to one that focused on a shared teacher/student experience of learning tools to tell personal stories.

They began recording their classroom sessions with the intention of breaking down what worked and what didn’t. Embrace the Mess was then born as a training tool for other educators.

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A re:imagine/ATL production