Brown Students Learn the Art of Diversity, Thanks to Maritz Arts and Education Grant

“The only thing the same about us all is our differences.” This is the theme for Brown Elementary School’s new student mural, courtesy of the Maritz Arts & Education Council Teacher Grant.

Last year, Linda Goedeker, art teacher at Brown Elementary School was awarded a $2,000 grant from Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers Foundation. This grant was given to help fund Brown’s Art to Remember project, a student mural which is located in the hallway outside of the school’s library. The mural is a compilation of student self-portraits painted on tiles, to illustrate the beauty of the school’s diversity.

“We started the project by talking about diversity, and what it really is,” Goedeker recalled. “Several students had heard the word before but had no idea of what it really meant. Then we did a cooperative activity where the students had to find two other people who shared the same characteristics as themselves.”

The class also read books about diversity and how everyone is different and that being a good thing, Goedeker explained. From there each of her art classes started to work on the actual artwork for the mural, learning how to draw faces, using concepts like direct proportions and eventually came up with their self-portraits. The older students used more advanced artistic concepts such as contrasts and backgrounds. Goedeker says the project has touched on everything in assessment literacy and also required students to use other positive character traits.

“I enjoyed the way the project encompassed valuable real-world lessons like communication and cooperation within a group,” she continued. “Everyone had to work together to make the portraits fit and flow, while at the same time, make them unique so that they stand out on their own.”

Matt Phillips, principal at Brown School, was extremely pleased with the completed project and grateful to his students and Ms. Goedeker for their hard work.

“On behalf of Brown Elementary staff and students, I would like to thank Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers for their generosity and for selecting our project,” Phillips went on to say, “We are very proud of how this project turned out. I would like to give special thanks to our students and Ms. Goedeker for a job well done.

“The project goal was to assemble a tiled-wall in front of the school library which celebrates diversity. The completed tiles were then mounted on an existing wall, in a highly visible hallway, creating a mosaic that’s representative of the diverse families we serve. A wall of art that students, parents and staff can, and will, take pride in, for many years to come,” he said.  (story provided by Ferguson-Florissant District)

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