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Wells International Foundation Celebrates Its 2nd Anniversary of Service
Since its inception, this U.S. non-profit 501(c)(3) organization has watched its inaugural event, the Paris art exhibition Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color, generate more than 10 related projects that fall under three of its six Strategic Focus Areas: The Arts, Travel / Study Abroad, and STEAM Education.
The exhibition itself incorporated projects that fall under these areas. Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color brought together 40+ paintings and works on paper by artist Beauford Delaney, an African-American expatriate from Knoxville, TN who lived in Paris, France for the last 26 years of his life. It was held at Columbia Global Centers | Paris from February 4-March 15, 2016.
To enhance the exhibition, WIF Founder and CEO, Dr. Monique Y. Wells, organized a study abroad / STEAM project with Dr. Bryan Carter of the University of Arizona. Dr. Carter brought 6 University of Arizona students from Tucson to Paris to create an Augmented Reality app that provides video commentary and Iinks to online articles about the works in the exhibition. Five of these six students traveled abroad for the first time to participate in this project.
WIF also collaborated with J Rêve International, a social entrepreneurship founded by Jacqueline Cofield, to bring K-12 teachers to Paris to study Delaney's life and use Resonance of Form as a springboard for exploring how to integrate the arts into teaching science, technology, and math (STEAM education). Two of the participating educators had never traveled abroad before.
Sojourner Ahébée, a Stanford University study abroad student, visited the exhibition and was so inspired by her experience that she wrote to Dr. Wells to ask if she could participate in an internship that summer. She became WIF's first intern, completing a nine-week program in July-September 2016.
Ahébée's experience inspired Stanford University student Tatiana Balabanis to apply for WIF's 2017 summer internship. She was accepted, along with Hanna Gressler and Samantha Gilliams from the American University of Paris. All three students completed 6- to 8-week programs in July-August 2017.
In partnership with the University of Arizona, WIF is raising funds for a dedicated internship for University of Arizona students. It is targeted for launch in June 2018.
Additional arts projects that have sprung from the Paris exhibition include a collaboration between Paris and Knoxville elementary schools to connect children on both sides of the Atlantic through Delaney's art, an opera and a play that are being produced about Delaney's life, and an itinerant version of Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color (https://www.nytimes.com/
For WIF's Strategic Focus Area in literacy, Dr. Wells traveled to Houston, TX in June 2017 to launch the organization's literacy initiative for children in grades K-3. WIF partnered with the Houston Public Library on a pilot read-a-thon called People and Pajamas at the Johnson Branch in the Sunnyside community in south Houston. This successful program was a prelude for a 24-hour read-a-thon called Reading Never Stops that the two organizations are co-organizing for July 2018. They will give away hundreds of books and prizes during this event as part of their mission to help kids avoid "Summer Slide" and be ready for school in the fall by keeping them reading throughout the summer.
During her visit to Houston, Dr. Wells (who is a veterinary pathologist and toxicologist)
For WIF's Strategic Focus Area in Women's Empowerment, the organization is holding its second Leadership, Communication, and Creativity workshop for women leaders in Paris, France in November 2017. WIF is planning an International Women's Day event for March 2019.
The Wells International Foundation cultivates global citizenship through education and culture. For more information, visit http://wellsinternationalfoundation.org.