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Creating global citizens through art
art exchangeArt students at Briscoe Elementary School have joined forces with the Memory Project, a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to creating global kindness through art. The students will share their work with their peers living thousands of miles away in Pakistan. Krista Powell, art teacher at Briscoe, decided to get her students involved with the nonprofit’s Global Art Exchange after hearing about it on The Art of Education podcast.

Powell’s students are creating watercolor paintings inspired by their own ideas of peace, happiness and friendship. They get to choose if they want to create an abstract or realistic piece. When their watercolor is complete it will be mailed, by the Memory Project, to a school in Pakistan.

“It’s important for them [the students] to make connections with other kids through artwork,” Powell said. “Art is like a language and by making pieces of art and then sending the artwork to someone who lives halfway across the world, the students are making a personal connection. They are communicating their ideas of peace and friendship and happiness through that artwork.” 

Briscoe is one of SAISD’s five International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools (and four IB Candidate schools). In 2019 the school was designated an IB World School for the Primary Years Programme. Powell says that a big part of being an International Baccalaureate campus is this idea of international mindedness. 

“This makes the international-mindedness real for the kids by having them create authentic connections,” said Powell. “Instead of us making artwork in the style of another country or culture, I want them to actually have real experiences with people from other cultures, people from other countries.” 

As the world becomes more and more interconnected with the internet and other technology, Powell says it is important for her students to become active global citizens. 

“I know that when my students are grownups and have careers and jobs they are not just going to be working in a city or working in a state; they are going to be making connections with people in other places,” she said. “Having that awareness and being comfortable with reaching out to other people from far away is a skill I would like them to become comfortable with early on.”

art exchangeThe school will be holding an art night in March, during which the artwork the students receive from Pakistan will be on display and the kids and their families can all come look at it together.

 “I am excited to see what they make for me,” said Josiah Colin as he worked on his watercolor of a forest filled with friendly people. “Friends are important so if you need help or something, they can help you. It’s important to make friends in different countries.”

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