Menomonie schoolchildren work with peers in Africa for art classes (w/video)


MENOMONIE — Menomonie second-grader Miranda Boerner used pastel colors to create a swirl of color, depicting motion.

She held her picture up to a computer camera to share it with students working on a similar project in Botswana, Africa. A student from Africa showed Boerner his picture.

Art becomes a catalyst for children across the globe to connect with one another.

Arts Integration Menomonie’s Program for Arts Integration for New Teachers is sponsoring the weekly art classes at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts. The classes will be Saturdays through Dec. 10.

“There is really no language barrier,” said Tami Weiss, executive director of Arts Integration Menomonie. “They can communicate through a line, a color. You can still tell what the other person is feeling and saying.”

The idea to have children use video software and connect in real time and share artwork grew out of a former student of Weiss’ in La Crescent, Minn. Kirstin Benish, a Peace Corps volunteer, wanted to start a pen pal group to help children learn English in Botswana. The idea for the art project grew from that. AIM sent art materials to the children in Botswana.