By Languages and Cultural Studies Department Co-Chair Cynthia Marker
What, you may ask, do 7th grade artists and Upper School French students have in common? Thanks to Art teacher Caroline Gardner and her innovative mosaic project inspired by French street artist the Invader, more than you might suspect!
It all began when Ms. Gardner invited the Parker community to go on a treasure hunt to locate her 7th graders’ colorful mosaic tiles spread out around the second floor of the building. Upon learning that the 7th grade art was inspired by a contemporary French artist, I seized the opportunity to make a fun French connection by inviting French I students to collect pictures of the 7th graders’ tiles and add descriptions of their artwork in French.
At the same time, French III students were wrapping up another successful year as participants in the Global Voices Initiative, their online exchange with a group of Moroccan students from a high school in Casablanca. During ongoing conversations about art, culture and teen perspectives throughout the semester, the two groups have formed a special bond. To pay tribute to our new Moroccan friends along with Parker’s talented 7th grade street artists, French III students selected images from Moroccan culture to design their own version of Invader-style artistry with the aid of a jewelry-assembling app and Hama beads.
The results met with much success. Merci to Ms. Gardner for the original inspiration and to Ms. Annette Lesak, Seth Bacon and the entire ILIS team for helping this special Francophone project come to life. We look forward to sharing our artwork with our new Moroccan friends and continuing to make exciting curricular connections for many years to come!