Bearden and Origami

Bearden and Origami

On Saturday, home-bound by our 29″(!) of snow, I made origami in preparation for an upcoming class with 7th graders. I needed a hard surface to work on and chose the nearest thing to where I was sitting, a children’s book by Romare Bearden, “Li’l Dan, the Drummer Boy.” On the back of the book is a wonderful picture of the artist’s sensitive face. I felt he was looking up at me, helping with the difficult origami instructions!

Several years ago Art Aware got a grant from Faith Ringgold, the African American creator of story quilts, to teach students about Romare Bearden, the African American collage artist. It was after Bearden had his huge retrospective at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and part of that show was to go the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

The grant allowed us to work with art teachers in eight Camden elementary schools and one Philadelphia school. Large murals of collages in Bearden’s style were created and displayed and then nine busloads of elementary school students went to the Whitney to see his original artwork.

I hope it was an experience those two hundred young artists will never forget. I know I never will.

And my origami session with Bearden on my lap made me feel even closer to him.

2 Responses to “Bearden and Origami”

  1. Vickie Travaline Says:

    I love what you are involved in and sharing with the kids in school! It is amazing what a snow day will bring out in the creative mind. I also had time to spend on an icon idea I have been wanting to execute. Thanks for the stories and pictures!

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