The Artist-in-Residency program for 2015 focused on Glenwood Elementary’s diverse student population. The artwork, titled Cultural Migration: What We Carry With Us was a collaboration between mosaic artist Jeannette Brossart and three fourth-grade classes at the school.
Brossart, in cooperation with fourth-grade instructors Ms. Hatley, Ms. Baxter and Mr. Sharp worked with 67 students to produce a beautiful mosaic mobile now hangs in the school’s hallway outside of the cafeteria. Over the course of ten sessions in March of 2015, Brossart led students in a discussion of what the term “immigration” means, why people move from one place to another, and what makes up a culture. The artist presented historical and multicultural examples of the mosaic art form, as well as contemporary examples showing pattern, use of shape, color families, and the flow of pieces to create mosaic art. Students used those ideas as well as responses from a take-home worksheet to identify their personal family history and immigration to determine colors and symbols important to their own culture. Students completed a brief written reflection and shared work with classmates.
Birds migrating became a symbol for immigration, and the students added their cultural patterns and colors onto cut bird shapes to produce the mosaic mobile. During the course of the mosaic project, students were taught the safe use of art materials and encouraged to review and modify their drawing in order to make their ideas clear before gluing the tumbled stained glass pieces onto acrylic bird bases. Brossart summed up her experience; "Teaching children about mosaics, as well as learning from them and about them is a joy and a privilege. Thanks to everyone for helping make this beautiful expression of our diverse community come to life."
The colorful bird mosaic mobile is adorned with colors from world flags, and different religious and other cultural symbols that reflect the broad cultural diversity of the student population of Glenwood Elementary. Dr. Darlene Ryan, Glenwood’s Principal, was impressed by the final artwork and the pride that students felt in being able to express their own cultural heritage to others. Dr. Ryan stated, “On the first day back from break and upon the students seeing the mobile, the students were all approaching me to point out their bird and how it reflected their heritage.”