Visiting artist and photographer Wing Young Huie gave a “Chalk Talk” workshop with middle school students as a part of a inter-discplinary unit in art, Spanish and humanities.

“Chalk Talk” workshops are inspired by Wing’s recent work, The University Avenue Project. Wing elicited responses from hundreds of people in various circumstances by asking a series of open-ended questions. Wing then chose only one of the answers from each person, which that person wrote on a chalkboard.

How would you answer these questions?

  • What are you?
  • How do you think others see you?
  • What don’t they see?
  • What advice would you give to a stranger?
  • What is your favorite word?
  • Describe an incident that changed you.
  • How have you been affected by race?
Hamline University, The University Avenue Project, 2009 (Photo by Wing Young Huie)

FSM fifth and sixth grade students will being doing their own “Chalk Talk” with the seniors at Centro. They will write a free choice piece based off the oral histories of the seniors. We will present all their work at the MLK celebration in January. We are very excited to be able to work with Wing, Spanish teacher Veronica, and art teacher Laura on this dynamic, multi-faceted project!

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Project Update 12/15/2011

We had our second visit to Centro In December. Students did their Chalk Talks with the seniors, asking them the six thought-provoking questions that they had developed in Art class together and that Veronica had translated into Spanish.

This was a worthwhile and challenging experience for both students and seniors as they tried to communcate with and convey their sometimes abstract ideas to each other. Students then chose one line or quote from the Chalk Talk, wrote it on a chalkboard, and took photographs of the senior with the chalkboard.

In Art, students culled through their photos to choose the most meaningful, interesting Chalk Talk photo of their senior, which we will print and present to the seniors next week as a gift.  Students are also working with Spanish-speaking parent volunteers to translate their interview notes so they can summarize and better understand their seniors’ lives.