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Foundation Fine Arts Committee Brings Artist-In-Residence Verena Brassel to WJHS

The D39 Educational Foundation and District 39 are partnering to host visiting Swiss Artist Verena Brassel May 16 – May 25 at WJHS.  This initiative provides students with an opportunity to make connections across curriculum and explore different world views. The program is financed by the Foundation through the Lydia Martin Memorial Fund.

The European artist will conduct a workshop with 8th graders enrolled in 2-D and 3-D art classes on the theme of Courageous People.  Students will select a courageous figure from history including the Dalai Lama, Elie Wiesel, Malala Yousafzai, Rosa Parks and others.  Each student will create a textural collage to showcase at an art exhibit open to the public in the WJHS Learning Commons on May 25th, 4-6pm. The Wilmette Park District will also exhibit a number of the art pieces after the May 25th art show.

Ms. Brassel’s workshop is timely occurring after the recent 8th grade social studies unit on genocide.  Topics that were discussed during study include individuals’ responsibilities to one another and society, the power bystanders have to move others toward action or passivity, and the choices and risks involved in rescuers’ actions.  These topics tie in with each courageous person included in the workshop.

In addition, Ms. Brassel will visit German classes at WJHS and Highcrest to introduce students to the Swiss German dialect, Swiss culture and her artwork.  Students will learn a number of common Swiss phrases.

While the artist has led workshops in Germany and Switzerland, this will be her first opportunity to work with American students. Brassel comments: “It is a great honor for me to share the Courageous People Workshop with American students and to make a small contribution to helping young people think and reflect on our history – with its alternately dark and light face.  It is challenging to convey history and express personal feelings in a painting, but it is important to tackle these tough subjects to ensure that we never forget.

Ms. Brassel is offering the Courageous People workshop to the general public at the Evanston Art Center on Sunday, May 21st from 9:30 – 3:30.  To register, go to evanstonartcenter.org or call 847-475-5300.

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