Beautiful and engaging art by LRS students always adorns our classroom and hallway bulletin boards, and currently striking art by students from the Myooudai Elementary School in Fukuyama, Hiroshima, Japan is on view in the main office. One of the pieces entitled, “Making Mochi (rice cake) is fun” was being presented and discussed during a Grades 4-5 art class as I toured the school with a visitor recently. The presentation and conversation about the art were in-depth and enhanced by a student who had visited his grandparents in Japan in December and contributed much detailed, first-hand information about mochi and Japan.
Since 1998, LRS has been a participating member of Creative Connections, an organization that facilitates art-based exchanges between students in the United States and around the world. Creative Connection’s mission “is to educate young people by encouraging their awareness, understanding and appreciation of other cultures, as well as their own.”
Founded in 1991 by Alan Steckler, father of LRS alums Abigail ‘04 and Tim ‘07, Creative Connections currently manages exchanges with more than 200 classes in 30 countries annually. LRS has also benefited from many performances by international youth music and dance groups arranged by Creative Connections.
Each year, LRS fourth and fifth graders exchange artwork with a school in another country, based on a theme that encourages personal and cultural expression. This year’s theme is “My Community, My Point of View.” Accompanying each artwork is an “Artist Description Sheet” that provides detailed information about the artist and his or her family, school, community, customs, activities, likes and dislikes, goals, etc. In the fall, our students create their artwork to be exchanged with our partner school. During several art classes recently, the art and artist descriptions from Japan were presented and discussed, furthering an understanding of the artists as individuals and their culture and traditions.
Later this spring, the art of an LRS artist will be selected as part of the 2016 International Children’s Art Exhibit at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk where 150 pieces from 30 countries will be on display. In the meantime, you can view art by LRS and Japanese students at school.