Jean Morman Unsworth Art Expressways Gallery
A Day in the Life: Students in Chicago and Ulaanbaatar Share Their Worldly Views
September 28, 2013 – January 19, 2014
This exhibition represented a year-long collaboration between students in Chicago and children on the other side of the world—Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. During the project, second grade students in the Global Explorers Kids’ residency at Marquette School of Excellence in Chicago and students at the International School of Ulaanbaatar (ISU) shared their cultures with each other through a blog and collaborative art projects. In the blog (entries of which are posted throughout the exhibition), they discussed the cities and countries where they live, their schools, their daily lives, and their likes and dislikes. They learned about the differences and similarities between each other—children half way across the world! The Chicago students also learned about traditional arts in Mongolia and were inspired by prayer flags, ovoos (piles of stones found in the Mongolian countryside that have religious significance), and the art of felt making. These projects enabled the American and Mongolian students to think about their place in the larger world and about making friends across boundaries and cultures.
The second graders at the International School of Ulaanbaatar participated in this project. ISU is the first international school in Mongolia and was founded twenty years after the country became democratic in 1990. The school is committed to inspiring students to respect cultural diversity and the environment. A special thanks goes to Ms. Wafzig’s grade 2W students for helping out with the blog, Mrs. Khongorzul, primary art teacher who led the grade 2 art projects, and Julie Pitzen, who coordinated the project at ISU.
In Chicago, about 125 second graders from the Marquette School of Excellence (in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood) participated in the project during their art classes. This project was the culmination of a year-long residency with Global Explorers Kids at Marquette, which has a diverse population; 54.3% of the students are Latino, and 44.7% are African American. The school’s administrators believe in embracing cultural differences and honoring all races and ethnicities. Second-grade students from the classrooms of Mr. Alvarado, Ms. Gonzalez, Ms. Winfield, Ms. Guzman, and Ms. Liao worked with Global Explorers Kids instructors Holly Hutto, Pam Chermansky, Stephanie Chavara, Sandy Devura, and Marian Hayes. Global Explorers Kids is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing children with the opportunity to explore the diversity of the world’s peoples and helping them to understand and respect different cultures, using the arts as a catalyst towards learning.