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Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer Stevie Van Zandt Partners With NFT Artist To Bring Progressive Learning To High School Students

Proceeds from Artist NFT Art Collection to be Donated to Education Initiatives

NFT artist, writer, and activist, Mieke Marple, commits to donating 25 percent of the proceeds from her new Medusa Collection to TeachRock, a non-profit that provides educators with a free curriculum that uses popular music and culture to help teachers engage students. TeachRock was launched by Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Famer Stevie Van Zandt (otherwise known as Little Steven), best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. The organization is also overseen by a Founders Board of music legends such as Bono, Jackson Browne, Martin Scorsese, and Bruce Springsteen.

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Endaoment, the first on-chain 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity, will facilitate the donation from Marple to TeachRock by providing tax-exempt rails for transferring the cryptocurrency-native donation to the nonprofit. In processing the donation, Endaoment fulfills its larger mission to bridge the gap between philanthropy and decentralized finance (DeFi). Marple’s donation will support TeachRock in its goal of both empowering teachers and engaging students through interdisciplinary, culturally responsive education materials that best fit today’s modern classrooms.

TeachRock is a free and open-source curriculum extension endorsed by the National Councils for Social Studies, Geographic Education, and Music Education, and is an official component of the New Jersey School Boards Association’s STEAM education program. Its lessons cover a range of subjects including social studies, language arts, geography, STEM, and music, providing more than 300 educational resources and works directly to over 100 schools across five states.

“TeachRock works tirelessly to keep the arts in the DNA of the public school system,” said TeachRock founder Stevie Van Zandt. “Now we’re using the arts to raise the money to pay for that work too. This NFT project encourages us to rethink the true story of a myth we all grew up with and funds a new curriculum that will share that story freely with teachers and students worldwide.”

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Marple’s Medusa Collection – comprised of 2,500 generative art NFTs – is based on Marple’s paintings of canonical Italian sculptures of Medusa, spanning 1545 to 1805. The collection was inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which tells the story of Medusa having been raped by the god Poseidon and then turned into a monster by his wife, Athena, as punishment. This story is often taught in schools as a mere example of a noteworthy Epic, but this narrative rarely acknowledges the series of events that led to Medusa’s fate and fails to meet the needs of the next generation of students seeking culturally responsive teachings on progressive topics that fit within their modern lens.

“We rarely learn how Medusa became a monster,” said Mieke Marple, the artist behind the  Medusa Collection. “Medussa was punished for surviving sexual abuse. Her story is indicative of the way countless groups are marginalized in the tales we take for granted as ‘history.’ The Medusa Collection is meant to turn her from a feared antagonist to a celebrated protagonist. In addition to raising funds for TeachRock, the Medusa collection embodies the organizations’ key tenants – using art and education to empower each other.”

In addition to allocating the funds to preexisting education programs, TeachRock has committed to supporting the research and development of a Medusa Reconsidered unit within a World Mythology curriculum, providing humanities teachers across the world with a resource to add long-needed African and indigenous mythologies and female perspectives to studies of Greco-Roman lore.

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“This is a truly circular project,” said TeachRock Executive Director Bill Carbone. “We’re using art as a gateway to reconsider Medusa’s story. We’re learning more about her by choosing to look at a text that has been in front of us all along. We’re raising funds through Mieke’s extraordinary art while we do it, and that will support making this process of discovery something any teacher can engage a student with.”

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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