Our blog reaches hundreds of people worldwide so we get occasional e-mail requests for information on Negril. Today we received this e-mail and I felt that I should pass it along here. Some of you may want to help with this wonderful Whitehall school project -
Dear Markospoon -
I'm writing because I hope you're going to be interested in helping me help a bunch of really great students in Negril. If you think the project sounds fun and worthy, please help me spread the word!
I recently got back from doing a mosaic art residency with elementary students at Whitehall Preparatory School in Negril, Jamaica and going back in January of 2012 to build on our project.
I brought over 100 pounds of materials and tools and spent three days working with 90 students, two assistant/collaborators and five teachers to make a mosaic flower garden mural and a big tiled mirror for the school. The students were bright, eager and did really great work! If you haven't seen the photos from the project, take a look at all their cute, proud faces here: www.flickr.com/photos/lisaarnoldresidency/ (in the Whitehall Mosaic set).
It was a really rewarding experience, being able to give back to a community that has provided me with so many happy hours and beautiful memories, especially because it is a place in such need. There's little way out of poverty there and many people struggle to get by, but the school is a really colorful, happy place full of smart and enthusiastic children. Alas, they don't have an art teacher, art program or art books, but they do have are motivated teachers and principals with vision. Before I left, Mrs. Myrie (one the teacher/principal/founders) thanked me and told me plainly, 'Now it's time for you to go home, do something for us from there and return.' It seems a big challenge, but I am up for it!
So, here is my idea... Whitehall's motto is "Hard work is the key to success" and their logo is a key. When I go back in January 2012, the students and I are going to make a BIG mosaic of a key to adorn the school -- made out of keys! It seems everyone has an old key lying around that will eventually end up in a landfill. Instead of throwing it away, I'm asking that you send the one in your junk drawer to me. And maybe, if you are able, you could wrap it in a dollar bill? I did the project in January as a gift and am looking for a way to make it on-going and sustainable. I hope that by doing micro-fundraising, making it easy, inexpensive and fun to participate, you'll accept my invitation and invite others to learn about the work and take part too!
Since I've been back, a school in Whitehouse, Jamaica has heard about the project and asked me to teach mosaics to their students too -- looks like my work is cut out for me! I'm really excited to continue and eventually expand the project. Not only do I believe arts education is important for everyone, I know that mosaic skills could be put to real use there -- as a way of beautifying and raising money for schools and even for people to make a living.
My goal is to raise $2000 and receive 500 keys by December 1, 2011. I could do soooooooooo much with that! I think it's going to be pretty amazing for the students to look at a huge pile of keys and know that each represents a stranger out in the world who cares about them. I hope you'll want to be a part of that!
If you do, I thank you for sending your contribution to
Whitehall Mosaic Key Project
Minneapolis, MN 55406
6 years ago