SchoolArts Magazine

November 2017

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 48 of 54

T his past summer, a terrific group of educators, artists, and art lovers from all over the country attended our Tres Culturas SchoolArts/ CRIZMAC seminar in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Together, we met incredible artists in their homes and studios, toured Georgia O'Keeffe's house in Abiquiu, hiked to see ancient petroglyphs, had lunch in a Pueblo home, visited historical sites, enjoyed museum visits, and experienced the contemporary Santa Fe art installation known as Meow Wolf. Next summer, Tres Culturas will be returning to Santa Fe, Abiquiu, Chi- mayo, and Taos. Join us as we explore the artistic spirit of Northern New Mexico in July 2018, adding some new destinations for our repeat partici- pants. (One hardy traveler has joined us nineteen times!) The spirit of New Mexico may best be captured through the senses—the distinctive smell of wet earth during a storm, the scent of burning piñon, the incredibly turquoise sky, and the rough texture of rounded, organic forms. This spirit finds expression in a unique way of life created from the contributions of three cultures: Pueblo Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo. Tres Culturas is designed to help curious travelers explore and under- stand the diversity of New Mexico's artistic heritage, from ancient times to the present. Planned highlights for 2018 include tours of Georgia O'Keeffe's home in Abiquiu and Taos Pueblo in Taos; a visit to Roxanne Swentzell's Tower Gallery, and much more. Anyone is welcome to join us; you do not need to be an educator. For dates, pricing, and other details, visit . An Invitation to Nancy Walkup A Journey of A L L L E V E L S Above: 2017 Tres Culturas travelers at the Coe Foundation in Santa Fe. Right: Taos Pueblo in Taos, New Mexico. Photo b Nanc alkup. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31. SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 31 M I D D L E S C H O O L If These Shoes Could Talk These children kept walking in these shoes, enduring unimaginable hard- ship, right up until the day they were murdered. If they had a chance to grow up, what might they have done with their lives? To each of my students, I assigned the identity of a child who experienced the Holocaust. Each student was to consider the hopes and dreams of that child who would never be able to realize those dreams for him- or herself and create a sculpture of a shoe to honor them. Those shoes were worn by people who suffered persecution and starvation but still kept walking right up to the very end of their lives. If those shoes could talk, what would they tell us? Stepping in Another's Shoes Each of my sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students received a child's identity card from the American Holo- caust Museum website. They each read their biography and got to work building a shoe. Students took notes as they worked, explaining their creative choices, as I had also asked them to write an artist statement. Since many victims died as toddlers or left little information, I encouraged students to imagine that the child they were studying was a lot like them. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I asked. "Make your hopes and dreams their hopes and dreams. They cannot speak for themselves. It is your job to speak for them." Engineering The completed shoes were to be made using plaster bandages to give them enough strength to be displayed in a pile. Some students wrapped their bare feet in plastic wrap and then coated them with plaster. A few held their feet rigidly in an upward position as the plaster dried and then used tin foil and plaster to add a heel afterwards. Many others brought in old shoes and wrapped them, first in plastic wrap, and then in plaster to create a cast. If These Rachel Wintemberg SHOES COULD TALK Students shared their imagined future for a child who would never grow up and connected their work with the person the were honoring. W hen the allied forces liber- ated extermination camps throughout Europe at the end of World War II, tower- ing masses of old, worn out shoes were one of the first things they saw. In many cases, these anonymous, broken shoes were all that was left of the mil- lions of victims of Hitler's "final solu- tion." Every single one of those shoes had a story to tell. The people who wore them had ideas, hopes, dreams, and ambitions that were all taken away. As many as 1.5 million chil- dren perished in the Holocaust, along with Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roma (Gypsies), and the disabled. A Dark Part of History I showed students photographs of piles of shoes from the concentration camp at Auschwitz and told them about how the victims were transported in filthy cattle cars to what they thought were relocation camps. Once they got to their final destination, heads were shaved and clothing and shoes were removed so that they could be showered off, deloused, and disin- fected. Once they entered the shower house, the door was locked. Instead of water, poisonous gas came out of the shower heads. The bodies of victims were then cremated in giant ovens. The victims' hair was used to stuff mattresses and pillows; the discarded clothing could be salvaged for rags, but the broken, worn-out shoes of the victims continued to pile up. Some students traced the soles of their shoes onto cardboard and then built a solid form using newspaper and masking tape before making CONTINUED ON PAGE 43. 30 NOVEMBER 2017 SchoolArts Left: Jania Quilas, grade six. Right: Brooke Robinson, grade six. Karla Cedeno. Shoe design in honor of Nadine Schatz. An actual pile of discarded shoes that were taken from Auschwitz concentration camp victims. by tracing the sides and bottom of a real shoe, assembling it, and then tap- ing on a top and tongue. Prior to add- ing the bandages, tag board sculptures were covered with tin foil to prevent distortion and collapse. Several stu- dents added design elements with clay before adding a final layer of plaster, and then primer and acrylic paint. Artist Statements My middle-schoolers found it inspir- ing to know that turning a shoe into a sculpture was something that real artists have done. They wrote accom- panying artist statements, sharing their imagined future for a child who would never grow up, connecting their work with the person they were honoring, linking their choices to a contemporary artist, and explaining their building process. "I felt sad because she would never be able to see the shoe. Lisl Winter - nitz never got to wear high heels because she died at such a young age. I chose the colors pink and purple because when I imagined a girl dress - ing up as a fairy princess, I imagined her wearing those colors." —Darleny Rodriguez, grade eight Rachel Wintemberg teaches visual art at Samuel E. Shull Middle School in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and is a contributing editor for SchoolArts. rachelhw1966 @ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and exter- nal context. W E B L I N K S thehelpfulartteacher.blogspot. com/2017/01/sole-witness-responding- to-holocaust.html type/sculpture ART & SOUL 44 NOVEMBER 2017 SchoolArts

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