Mrs. Difranco's perspective of the Tomaquag Museum and Printmaking:
The trip to the Tomaquag Museum was inspiring for so many reasons, but especially lesson planning. This museum is only a five minute ride from door to door and we have neglected to visit or connect with these community artisans. While visiting the museum, I noticed the baskets decorated with a printmaking technique. This ancient technique was, and remains, an important process in art making. Printmaking is seen in so many cultures across the world and we are fortunate to have a student’s parent that is a master printmaker. She graduated from RISD and offered to run a class with our fourth graders. We looked at the history of printmaking and the different techniques used in a variety of cultures. She let us use her linoleum cuts to make our prints. We were able to purchase linoleum for a fourth grade project this year. It was great to have community artists share their technique with our students while linking a very modern process to a very ancient one.
From Mrs. Difranco, our art teacher:
During the months of January and February, I was able to attend an after school art club in collaboration with the Indigenous Arts Workshop. Through this workshop I have come to realize that I don’t know as much as I thought about the Native American culture. I work in a community thriving with such rich history and knowledge of the land we view through our windows. This grant is opening my eyes, enabling me to make deeper connections to its roots. Through the arts, we are attempting to build stronger relationships with a culture buried in plain sight. While attending these workshops, I listen to the Native American students. They gossip about the various Pow-wows they attend and their likes/dislikes of the rituals and different tribe relations. We listen to Indigenous music of the past and also modern versions. Some of the students sing along to these songs and sometimes sing without the music. This space has become one I look forward to creating and connecting in.
On Thursday, February 20, 2020, Hope Valley School welcomed Chris Newell (Passamaquoddy) who was a senior advisor for Dawnland, which won an Outstanding Research Emmy. What an honor to have Chris at our school. The students and staff were engrossed with his knowledge of Native American history and culture which he shared through stories and music. The students were fully engaged and delighted to sing with him. He united the students effortlessly and encouraged them to come together through song and dance. Check out the video of Chris leading the students in a song. This video is Chris singing with the sound of his drum. Best of luck at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine (@abbemuseum).