In the summer of 2015, I traveled to Qwa Qwa, South Africa called "Heads, Hearts and Hands." During this trip, there were four modules of study: art history, art education, studio artists, and research to restore a local art museum. In the summer of 2017, I was fortunate to go back to South Africa to work with Helene Smuts, Patrick Fahey, and David Riep on curriculum for The Africa Meets Africa program. Africa Meets Africa is a non-profit that integrates a variety of content areas with the traditional art forms. After creating integrating curriculum, teachers in rural areas throughout South Africa are provided teacher training on how to integrate the lessons into their classroom. In the most current book, I was involved with creating a preliminary activity and project curriculum that integrates geometry with a traditional art form called litema.
I gave a lecture to local teachers in QwaQwa, South Africa at the University of the Free State to introduce the curriculum from the most current work book. We then painted the wall of a local school using geometry and the traditional art form.
Aside from working with Africa Meets Africa, we also taught art to over 15 primary and secondary schools, including the local school for the deaf and blind. We also visited several local artists to learn about the history and contemporary practices of different art forms.
My time in South Africa has had an immense impact on not only how I teach, but how I view the world. It has only made my passion for the arts grow, and has further proved how much one can learn about a culture from art. It has also allowed for more opportunity to integrate other content areas into my teaching practice. My experience has really impacted how I teach my students to understand the context and history of other cultures when looking at art, and to view artworks from a variety of perspectives. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to go for the impact is has made in my teaching, my interactions, and my perspective.
CASTIGLION FIORENTINO, ITALY
During the summer of 2013, I spent time in Castiglion Fiorentino which is located in the Tuscany region of Italy. I took a course in Art History that focused on early Renaissance art. Throughout our time there, we traveled around northern Tuscany and toured many museums and cathedrals to look at art. We spent a lot of time in smaller towns and took many trips to Florence. Also, in our spare time, we traveled to Rome and Venice to see even more art work and historical sites. This study abroad trip showed me how other cultures can live at a slower pace and really value the little things in life. Also, it was amazing to see so many works of art that many people do not know to look for (since we did not study the very famous late period of the Renaissance). Overall, the trip was a great first time abroad and taught me a lot of history.