Workshop course

USF professor and young son offer ‘superhero workshop’ for kids of color

Ten-year-old Nathaniel Freeman has many titles: coder and storyteller.

“I code, I create characters, so I’m working on a miniseries,” he said.

But he’s also a Lego lover and a huge Black Panther fan. “I like his costume, he’s really cool, he’s a king,” Nathaniel said.

And now he can add “teacher” to that list after completing a “Superhero Storytelling” workshop with his father, USF professor McArthur Freeman II.

“I think it was also a way of really reaching out to kids, I mean superheroes are really great at doing that but also having a team, a father and a son,” McArthur said.

Over a two-week period, the duo taught a group of college kids how to combine technology like coding, illustration, and editing with superhero stories about themselves.

The program was largely aimed at Bay Area black and brown children and in turn exposed them to the world of digital art, while allowing them to see and create stories about people. who looked like them.

“Growing up I remember wanting to see characters that looked like me. I remember trying to learn how to draw and not understanding how to draw our hair because I couldn’t see the illustrators I looked at, they didn’t do that and there’s just a lack of that,” McArthur said.

And it’s a course that McArthur also hopes will spark a passion for the arts. That said, full-time teaching may or may not be part of Nathaniel’s future.

“I think I’m an astronaut or a game designer,” Nathaniel said.

But what is clear is that for now, her passion for sharing her unique gifts with other children will continue.

“I’ll be starting a YouTube channel soon, so you should keep an eye on it. It’s going to be called ‘Nate Creates,'” Nathaniel said.