Paintings and Stories
|Paintings and Stories Index|
This web exhibition is a compilation of the creative voices of fifth-grade students at Lawerence Intermediate School and eighth-grade students at Hohokam Middle School. They participated in a four-part Paintings and Stories workshop offered by the Arizona State Museum (ASM). During the workshop students looked at paintings by master American Indian artists and listened to the words of Native poets for inspiration. On these pages are poems that resulted from their outward gathering of images, colors, and textures mixed with inward reflections on their own life experiences.
Ninety paintings by American Indian artists were on display in ASM’s exhibition Connections Across Generations: The Avery Collection of American Indian Paintings. Students visited this exhibition and worked with Navajo poet Sherwin Bitsui, ASM director of education Lisa Falk, and ASM school program interpreter and painter Leia Maahs. Guided by these museum-teachers, they looked closely at paintings, imagined what it would be like to enter the environment of a painting, and used words creatively to describe paintings and journeys. They recorded their experiences in a palette of words and in paintings they created themselves. Back in the classroom, they worked with Mr. Bitsui to transform their palettes of words and images into poetry. They then edited and typed their poems with the assistance of their teachers, Ms. Victoria Hawk and Ms. Stacia Reeves.
To celebrate the students’ poems and process, we invited four emerging Native writers to meet with them and share their writings and thoughts on the craft of a writer. Together we shared cake and words and reflected on the process and joy of creativity.
While this web exhibition, the printed book, and the related celebration is the culmination of the Paintings and Stories workshop, we hope it is just the springboard that propels these youth to continue creatively expressing themselves. We hope that all who read these poems and look at the related paintings will be inspired to visit museums, look at art work, read poems, and let their own voice ring!
Victoria Hawk and Stacia Reeves for joining us in the Paintings and Stories program and for sharing their students’ creativity with us.
Sherwin Bitsui for being a partner on this adventure and for his skill in nurturing the interest, skills, and enthusiasm of young writers.
Barbara Teso of ArtsReach for sharing her expertise on the teaching of writing.
Such enthusiastic and caring teachers make a difference in our world.
The Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the Tucson Pima Arts Council for support of programs related to the Connections Across Generations exhibition.