Art helps people make sense of the world around them. Whether telling stories about a community or inspiring a debate, art introduces new ideas and can be powerful enough to change the world.
Students around the world have been creating and sharing art with PenPals in The Power of Art, and this week we are excited to highlight some stellar artists as our PenPals of the Week! Congratulations to Daniel, Emily, Danny, and Walran from New York, USA, Hannah from Texas, USA, Aunva from Thailand, and Sergiy from Ukraine!
In this project, students explore how artists around the world use their work to inspire change. By studying artists like Frida Kahlo, Marcel Duchamp, and Ai WeiWei, students discuss the impact artists have on the world. Students have the choice to research an artist from a different country or create and share their own original artwork.
Aunva explored how artists share their work with the world.
“In Art class, we are learning about the 1960s art and many pop artists like Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein. There are two famous street artists in Thailand, called Rukkit and P7. Their work are mostly spray painting. Rukkit's work are mostly straight edged and with geometry shapes, while P7's work is mostly with wobbly and round shapes. However, both's work contain colorful color that contrast with each other, and their work are mostly about animals. Please search up their names on the internet, and you will see their work.”
-Aunva from Thailand
Sergiy, Dariel, Emily, and Danny researched different artists, from painters to dancers and writers.
“I want to tell about my favourite artist. It's a women. Her name is Achkasova Maria. Achkasova Maria was born on March 31, 1987 in the city of Donetsk in the family of artists. In 1996, the family moved to Yuzhnoukrainsk (I was born here), where Maria graduated from secondary school № 4. From 2007 to 2016 she worked as a teacher of fine arts in the Yuzhnoukrainsk school of arts. During this time, she took an active part in all events, master classes, and won the Best Culture Worker Award.
She is currently working as a designer in Yuzhnoukrainsk, headed by the recently created public organisation "Art space". She works in various techniques, including watercolors, works of oil painting and other. The artist's works are kept in the family and private collections in Ukraine, Italy, Germany, Russia. In her works there is a national tradition - ornamentation. symbolism, color. In masterpieces philosophical themes are dominated. One of her most famous and largest exhibitions is a personal exhibition in the Kropivnitsky Regional Art Museum. The exhibition entitled "Free Light", because this paintings are the result of free flight or creativity and inspiration.”
-Sergiy from Ukraine
“The artist I chose is Judy Blume. She is from Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was born on February 12, 1938. She is now 80 years old. Judy Blume is an author. She wrote many books, specifically for middle school. Some books she wrote are called "Are You There God? Its Me Margaret," "Deenie," "Blubber," and "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing." She explains things like growing up and maturity and family issues in her writing. While married to John Blume, she began to work as a teacher and writer. She has won more than 90 awards for her writing and contributions to literature.”
-Dariel from New York, USA
“The artist I chose to research is Kathryn McCormick. Kathryn is a contemporary dancer. She was born in Augusta, Georgia in the US. She was born on July 7, 1990 and is 27. She started dancing at 3 years old in her mothers dancing studio. I looked at some videos of her dancing and she dances a lot of relationships and love. I found it interesting that she became known from a show called So You Think You Can Dance. It is a dance competition show. She came in at third place in the competition. She was in the sixth season. Then she came back to the show to mentor the new dancers. She has also been in movies, music videos, and mentors new dancers.”
-Emily from New York, USA
“The artists name is Andy Warhol. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was born on August 6, 1928, and died in February 22, 1987. He was an artist, producer, director, and a photographer. He used all these ways to express himself. He started off as an advertising photographer, where his first commission was to draw shoes for Glamour Magazine. From there, he went on to paint and photograph some of the most famous people in the world. His work can be seen all over, including in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”
-Danny from New York, USA
Hannah and Walran were PenPals and created their own original pieces to share with each other!
“I usually work in mediums of writing, photography, and music; but since this project had to be inspired by someone we learned about, I chose to do a simple art project. Art is not my strong suit, so this is similar to a collage of images, like Andy Warhol's 32 Cans picture.
It contains 32 of the same object, just like Andy Warhol's piece of art. Warhol was "fascinated by the growth of commercial goods", and the object presented in this picture, the iPhone, is a commercial product that has grown immensely the past ten years. I feel like it kind of represents what our society is moving towards: technology. Warhol's picture of the soup cans was displayed less than ten years before an agriculture boom in the 1970's when Americans were, in general, eating more food. I enjoyed this unit with you, PenPals!”
-Hannah from Texas, USA
“I created my own picture using Picasso's Cubism.”
-Walran from New York, USA
When we asked Aunva from Thailand what his favorite part about learning with PenPals has been, he told us “PenPal was a very interesting experience for me, because I got to work on projects and connect with other kids my age in the world, and share about our community. I learned how we can use art to express ourselves and our experiences with the project The Power of Art.”
Aunva did a great job of expressing himself in The Power of Art, and he had the opportunity to participate in even more PenPal Schools projects! “I also learned more about refugees and immigration from doing the projects The World Through My Eyes, and Immigration Through The 21st Century. I am glad my school has encouraged us to use this website, because kids can learn a lot of new ideas and communicate with each other even though we are in completely different parts of the world.”
From discussing the work of famous artists around the world to creating and sharing their own original artwork, PenPals examine the power that artists have to inspire and create change. Invite your students to the conversation by signing up for The Power of Art.