Arts and activism project at Claxton Elementary

Press release from Claxton Elementary:

In recent years, third graders have researched important figures in Asheville’s history. They investigate which figures are remembered with street names, monuments, and the like; and which ones are missing from our collective memory. The ultimate goal of the project is for students to bring the stories and people often left out of Asheville’s historical narrative to the forefront of our collective memory. Through this work they feel empowered as community leaders and changemakers.

This year, thanks to the support of the Claxton Specialist Team, PTO, and Social Justice Team,  third-grade will have the opportunity to partner with local artist and community champion, DeWayne “B-Love” Barton. B-Love will guide Claxton’s third-graders on a tour of Asheville to see murals, Peace Gardens, community centers, churches, and schools. Students will learn from his creative and community work to design their own artistic representations and commemorations of Tempe Avery, E. W. Pearson, James Vester Miller, and Isaac Dickson. Of particular interest for this project, is B-Love’s recent exhibit at the YMI, Ancestors in the Garden, where he created sculptural portraits of people of African decent out of found objects.

This year student learning will extend beyond the general education classroom as students explore Asheville’s historically Black spaces intentionally. They will listen to and learn from storytellers and community elders. They will participate in week-long workshops with the arts specialist of their choice to create their own unique commemoration (song, spoken word, sculpture, painting, etc.) of a Black leader. Teaching and learning will be informed by the NC Social Studies Essential Standards as well as Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards.
This project will culminate in an opportunity for students to lift their voices and become teachers themselves as they share their learning in a community forum on Thursday, April 11 at 11:30 a.m. Claxton family and Asheville community members are welcome to attend.

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