As part of the fourth-grade curriculum students visited the Museum and participated in the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Art & Culture tour. As a continuation of this tour, a special after school enrichment program was created by art educator Mrs. Katherine Miller and teaching artist Ms. Gigi Alvaré in collaboration with The Rockwell Education Department. This program enabled students to further investigate how cultural ideas are embedded in works of art by making art and writing of their own.
For the first session, students visited the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) gallery at The Rockwell and learned how both traditional and contemporary Haudenosaunee artists elevate functional objects such as bowls, baskets and bags by transforming them into objects of beauty. In particular, Crows in Winter (Paris) by G. Peter Jemison (Seneca) served as inspiration for students to create their own decorated bags, each depicting a local wild animal of their choice. During library sessions at Severn Elementary and on their own, students researched their chosen animal’s characteristics and habitats. Students then worked in the Severn Art Classroom to understand the process of drawing animals with colored pencil and creating a cohesive overall design incorporating the animal’s habitat. Finally, students created stories, imagining themselves from the animal’s perspective.
Through this project, students learned about the different animals that live in our surrounding environment. The experience of researching, drawing, and writing, helped students learn how animals can help humans understand and respect the balance and importance of nature, beauty, and the imagination. The students featured in this exhibition elevate our world by creating, carrying and containing their thoughts, understanding and reflections in their writing and works of art.
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