Congratulations Mr. Barnett!
It is with great pride and pleasure that we share that Falk middle school teacher (and Falk School alumnus) Cameron Barnett was recently named as the recipient of the Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Award for emerging artists, co-sponsored annually by the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments. Mr. Barnett will be honored during a public program on December 9th at Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse. The award comes with a cash prize of $15,000 to further his creative work.
Mr. Barnett’s poetry focuses on two main questions: who are we? And who are we to each other? He focuses on how portrayals of groups of people, particularly Black people, are often monolithic and presented from the perspective of the dominant society, a perspective that leaves little room for empathy and nuance.
Of the honor, Mr. Barnett says that it “is an affirmation that [my work] is not just about what I’ve done, but where I come from. That gives me strength. It allows me breathing room to pursue writing and publishing opportunities. Even more than the financial aspect is that it makes me believe that I am a poet. To be acknowledged by a committee of interdisciplinary artists is very humbling and fulfilling for me personally, and something that I will never forget."
“My belief is that stories are the binding thread of all communication. Stories are what bind us, and how we create empathy, understanding and growth. As a society we are always revising and line editing our past and present selves,” he says.
Mr. Barnett hopes this award will inspire his middle school students here at Falk, where he teaches sixth-grade history and seventh-grade language arts.
“Several of my students are genuinely interested in writing poems and stories,” he says. They already know about his 2017 book of poems, “The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water,” and “to know that I’ve won an award could make them realize that if someone like Mr. B can do it, their teacher teaching them how to write, then they’re not too far away from something like this for themselves.”
Congratulations on a job very well done, Mr. Barnett. We are all very proud of you!