Recently, the school where I teach had an International Night for students and families. I volunteered to put together a collaborative project to display. It brought to mind a project that Pop up Art School did with a public library that was celebrating diversity in their community.
For the library we created a custom workshop that resulted in a collaborative art piece that is still on display. The project was designed so that the kids would have something to take home. Each student made a “quilt” square on an 8 inch square of paper. On it they painted concentric circles with colors and shapes from a world flag that represented their family’s heritage. On a separate piece of paper they drew pictures that represented something from that country. It could be a favorite food, a popular sport, a holiday, etc. At the end of the workshop we cut the squares into four smaller squares and gave each student a square from their piece to take home.
After the workshop, we took the cut squares, shuffled them and assembled them, so that each circle was comprised of four different artist’s work. The circles were mounted on poster board and made a colorful paper quilt for the library to display! We called it the Diversity Circle Quilt.
For my school I decided to have grades two through five make the quilt squares. There are 74 students in those four grades, so I knew that I had to make the quilt squares smaller than the original 8 inches. Otherwise, I would have a mammoth paper quilt that would be hard to hang. I used 4 inch squares instead which made it a manageable size.
First, students filled out a worksheet that asked them about their family’s heritage. Next, they identified the colors and shapes on the world flag associated with the country and painted their concentric circles. My favorite part was the variety of things they drew to represent their country: shamrocks, bowls of rice and beans, the Eiffel Tower, maple leaves, stars, slices of pizza, dogs, hockey sticks and cuckoo clocks!
The finished collaborative project measures 32″ x 36″ and I changed the name to World Flag Circle Quilt. The finished piece visually represents the many countries that Americans have immigrated from and how we weave our lives together under one flag.
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