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Wells International Foundation and City of Paris Launch Classes Duo International Cultural Exchange
French and American Elementary School Students Connect through the Life and Art of Beauford Delaney
The Wells International Foundation (WIF) organized a solo exhibition of the artist in Paris in 2016. Following the intense interest generated about the artist during the exhibition, WIF Founder and CEO, Monique Y. Wells began seeking information on establishing a "sister city" relationship between Knoxville and Paris. She learned that the Classes Duo program, part of the broader "Déclic Langues" project, was conceived to arouse the curiosity of young children in foreign cultures and to give them the desire to discover other countries, to interact with the children who live there, and to learn foreign languages. These objectives align perfectly with WIF's Strategic Focus Area in travel / study abroad.
The City of Paris connected Wells to CASPE of the 6th and 14th arrondissements (Circonscription des Affaires Scolaires et de la Petite Enfance des 6e et 14e arrondissements), the municipal office that oversees after-school activities in the neighborhood where Delaney lived in Paris. The officials in that office were excited to learn about Delaney's life in Paris and the prospect of connecting local children with students in Knoxville through exposure to his work. WIF and CASPE worked together to find the best match of schools, coordinators that speak English and French, and the best technology for conducting the trans-Atlantic student video conferences.
Educators from both schools have contributed themes for the lessons that the students will learn, with Delaney's life and art being the common thread among them. Examples include modes of travel, the U.S. Civil Rights movement, artistic styles and movements, and math- and science- based concepts in artistic creation (lines, shapes, patterns, oil versus water-based paints…).
The student participants are 7-10 years old. Leading up to their first video encounter, they exchanged e-mails. The French students created portraits and self-portraits inspired by Delaney's portraiture and shared them with the American students. Both groups shared information about their grade levels and the educators who will teach the lessons and supervise the video sessions.
Their first "face-to-face"
With the adult leaders translating, each group then asked questions of the other – things such as whether they like school, where they have traveled, whether they have seen popular landmarks (Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building), and whether they like candy. The French students showed two posters they created that displayed small portrait drawings and a photo of Beauford Delaney. Both posters bore Delaney's name, acknowledging the man whose legacy is binding the students together.
The January session was the first of seven that have been scheduled for the spring semester. There was so much excitement about the event among the students at Jean Zay that the director of the school came to the session and introduced himself to the Knoxville group.
The end goal of this Classes Duo exchange is to have the Knoxville students travel to Paris and the Paris students travel to Knoxville to meet their video pals and to see the places where Delaney lived and worked. The first trip may be scheduled as early as Autumn 2018.
To read this release in French, click here: http://www.wellsinternationalfoundation.org/
The Wells International Foundation cultivates global citizenship through education and culture. For more information, visit http://wellsinternationalfoundation.org.
Wells International Foundation
Page Updated Last on: Jan 26, 2018