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What Does America Mean To You?

What Does America Mean to You?

As Maker-in-Residence at the Harrison Public Library, I’m teaching fiber art workshops each month from October through December. In October, families made family flags and earlier this month, the ESL students made art about what America means to them.

01 Making Art 06 Making Art

17 Conflict and CalmOnce their pieces were complete, everyone got up to share their art and talk about what it represents. Some were very insightful, picking up on the interactions between people in America. In the piece on the right, the colors in the background represent the different skin colors that all live in the USA. The blue rays over them represent the calm moments when everyone gets along and the red rays represent the conflict that arises. She said things usually start off calm then there’s conflict then calm again. She hopes in the end, this cycle will end in calm so the first and last rays are blue.

The yellow background of piece on the left below represents freedom. The light circles show the good in society and the darker circles are the shadows and tragedies of society. The stars represent hope. In the piece on the right below, the artist used the colors of the American flag to create the flag of her home, Brazil. The hearts around the flag in different colors represent the different people who all come together here

10 LightDark 14 Brazil

Other people spoke about their personal experiences. The woman on the left below said that she thinks everyone in America has a big heart. She finds that everyone here treats her and her daughter with special needs well. The bow at the bottom represents different people coming together. The middle piece represents this person’s happiest time in America – her first year here as an au pair in Maryland. She especially loved the sunny days with green grass and blue skies and lived in a white house with a red door. And the woman on the right spoke about her feelings moving to a new place. The overlapping triangles at the bottom represent how she currently feels overwhelmed but she hopes to feel more organized and settled soon, illustrated by the evenly spaced triangles at the top.

12 Heart 27 Maryland 19 Chaos to Organization

And some people were inspired by the cities and landscapes in the USA. The piece on the left below was inspired by a trip to Bryce Canyon and Arches National Park. The piece in the center below shows the Statue of Liberty and NYC skyline. And the piece on the right below utilizes the colors of autumn and nature to show her favorite thing about America.

22 Bryce Canyon 15 NYC 11 Nature

There were many more wonderful pieces including the one on the left below which shows her image of what Americans love to wear and do – a cute outfit and baseball. The piece in the middle below shows the American flag and snow – the two things that come to mind first when she thinks about America. And the woman who made the piece on the right below said “I’m from Columbia, but my heart is in the USA.” She created a small Columbian flag on the left of her piece and a happy scene in America.

13 Baseball 21 Flag  23 Heart in USA

I loved working with all these thoughtful individuals and look forward to my final workshop at the library on Sunday, December 17 from 2:30-4:30. Join me and make a piece of art inspired by winter and the winter holidays. Open to families with children ages 4 and up. Click here to learn more!

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