Global Connections Through Art
In the last post, I discussed the importance and many benefits of making local and community connections through art. Now I would like to discuss and advocate for making global connections through art. There are many ways to do this within your classroom. I have highlighted a few below.
Tents of Hope
One of the most rewarding opportunities for making global connections was the Tents of Hope Project that I did in collaboration with Mira Riesberg who was a professor at Northern Illinois University at the time. My middle school students along with NIU undergraduate art education students painted an 8’ x 10’ canvas tent that drew attention to the genocide occurring in Darfur. The tent went on to be on display at the “Gathering of the Tents” in Washington DC and then on to Darfur to be used as a classroom. We had an artists’ reception and a showcasing of the tent at the middle school and this proved to be a valuable opportunity for my students to talk to the community about their experience and about the genocide going on in Darfur.
The Memory Project
I first heard about the Memory Project at an NAEA convention a couple of years ago and am so glad I have been able to implement that project at my high school. The project website describes the project as, “a unique initiative in which art students create portraits for children and teens around the world who have been orphaned, neglected, or disadvantaged”. At my school, we have created portraits for children from Namibia, Africa and Haiti. This project inspires caring, global friendship, and a positive sense of self and was founded by Ben Schumaker in 2004. National Art Honor Society students as well as students from various classes at my high school participate in this project each year and from my observations, these students view this as an opportunity to promote the value of sharing kindness with others. According to the website, art students from the USA, Canada and Korea have now created more than 30,000 portraits for children in 33 different countries.
Other global projects
There are many opportunities to help your students make global connections through art and I encourage you to fine a program or project that works for you and your students. I have listed a few more projects below that help communicate cultural understanding and awareness.