Art Shorthand Blog

Influential Women of Yellow Springs

My colleague, John Day, had shared with me a picture of some banners that the city of Athens, Ohio had put up around Memorial Day to celebrate the city’s veterans.  I shelved the idea at the time, as my students were currently invested in a different project. The banners were always in the back of my mind, however, and in October when I contemplated what to do for my unit on the experience of women in U.S. History, I decided to go for it.  The project’s goal was to enlighten students and, via the banners, the community about the parallel nature of U.S. history and Yellow Springs history. I reached out to the Yellow Springs Arts and Culture Commission they were fully supportive of the project. I solicited research subject suggestions from the Yellow Springs Community via Facebook and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of recommendations; I ended up with over 100 names.  By happenstance, Superintendent Basora forwarded an email to the district around Thanksgiving encouraging teachers to sign up for an “Artist and Writer Residence” program offered by the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Long story short, I applied, was awarded the grant and was provided with an experienced artist with a background in education for 3-4 classroom visits, and 1 field trip to the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

    Our artist in residence, Jay DeFazio, came four times over the course of two months and helped students expand their creative thinking and understanding of digital media.  Along the way, the project grew to include the creation of a newspaper article that the students would write to provide context for the woman/group of women researched. After a brief delay, the students’ creations were sent to the printers and were erected along Xenia Avenue on March 8. With the aid of a grant from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation and the unwavering support of the staff of the Yellow Springs News, students’ articles were juried and utilized to create a supplement which was published alongside the March 21 edition. There were so many folks to thank who helped out with the project and it truly was a collaborative effort.  I hope that next year’s crop of students will take up the charge to research those names on the list that were not researched to build upon this year’s work. I am pleased to know that the banners had such and impact on the people of Yellow Springs and encourage all who were affected to let the students know. They will will be on display once more during Yellow Springs High School’s Exhibition Night on Thursday, May 16. Stop by for one last look before they come out again next March!

Link to digital version of the supplement to the YS News:  Here

Link to the non-published student articles: Here

Posted by Angela Smith in Art Shorthand Blog, Featured, Inspiration, News, Projects