During the summer of 2010, teachers from Jamaica attending the Jamaica-WCU Program created original works of art in ART493: Art for the Elementary Educator. In the course, the students learned about art education, pedagogy and techniques for teaching K-12 students, the cultural importance of folk art, and how to become visually and information literate.
The quilts represented the culmination of the course. Working in groups, the students researched cultures, motifs, and symbolism. To prepare the students, Peter Koch from the Mountain Heritage Center (MHC) provided insight into the cultural meaning of quilting and illustrated some of the many techniques that can be used from quilts at the MHC collection.
Students learned that quilts are a specific form of art and that they are strongly connected to the community that creates them. It is only by researching these communities and their beliefs, folklife, and the materials that are available to them that a quilt can be understood as a piece of art and not merely as a bed cover.
All of the students did a wonderful job; they spent many hours researching, sewing, and selecting materials. We are pleased that all have elected to donate their masterworks to the university as teaching tools for others.
The Art Education summer program for the Jamaican teacher is the creation of Erin Tapley, Associate Professor, Art Education, and Alessia Zanin-Yost, Assistant Professor, Research and Instruction Librarian/Visual & Performing Arts Liaison. Both Erin and Alessia believe that in order to learn about art, students must practice with a variety of mediums and conduct research to develop creativity.
More about each quilt (PDF)