“The Language of Art” by Missy McConkie
Students at River Grove Elementary in Lake Oswego, Oregon, raised money for Magale Primary school in Kenya. They came up with creative ways of earning money—lemonade stands, babysitting, extra chores, even selling homemade pasta—all on behalf of children they will likely never meet.
But the connection didn’t end there. To bridge our two worlds in a more visual way, students at River Grove created a mural of North American animals that is now hanging at Magale Primary. In return, students at Magale created a similar mural; they painted and collaged African animals onto a mural that will hang at River Grove Elementary.
When I look at many of the animals I see not only the animal itself, but the face of the child who made it. I can see Kaaren Pixton, the local artist who gave the murals both her vision and her talent, teaching kids that anyone can be an artist, and that it is process, not product, that matters.
I can see the joy on the faces of our Kenyan students as they proudly held up their finished art. I remember their delight as they swished their brushes, mixed their colors, and showed their friend their design.
These murals will hang at each school to remind us all that our lives have now been permanently intertwined.
Art is a language that connects us all.