Creative collaboration produces educational collage

Teacher candidates in two classes collaborated to produce an art piece that will hang in the Leonard and Dorothy Neal Education Building.

Instructors Kimberly Hillier of “Language Arts Methodology” and Vanessa Mio of “Visual Arts Methodology” issued an assignment inspired by the abstract paintings of Alma Woodsey Thomas. As the first graduate of Howard University’s art program, she was one of the first Black women in the United States to earn a degree in the discipline.

“The lesson integrated critical literacy, visual arts, and Black History,” says Dr. Hillier. “We wanted to model the importance of collaboration among colleagues while also highlighting one of the benefits of virtual instruction and learning.”

Each of the students contributed a square of dots and dashes forming concentric circles to create a mosaic. The final piece honours the stylistic elements of Thomas’s work, says Dr. Mio.

“The abstract nature of her artwork allowed for creative freedom, resulting in a final piece that showcased the diverse artistic choices of each individual student,” she says. “The resulting collage presents a beautiful culmination of the collaborative work.”

Besides inviting discussion of the importance of ongoing BIPOC representation in literacy and visual art instruction, the project fostered a sense of community and belonging, key components as the teacher candidates prepare for their future practices in elementary classrooms.

Mio and Hillier conclude: “We are so proud of our students’ perseverance and dedication to the B.Ed program. The resilience they’ve shown this academic year demonstrates their strengths as future educators!”

mosaic of paintings
A mosaic of contributions from teacher candidates inspired by artist Alma Woodsey Thomas will be framed and hung in the Leonard and Dorothy Neal Education Building. Click on the image to expand.
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