Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Wonderful Opportunity with @WPKNradio @_IICONN @FairfieldU To Discuss a Phenomenal Collaboration: Ubuntu Matters

In June, when Carey Mack Weber of the Fairfield University Art Museum contacted me to inquire on whether or not CWP-Fairfield would once again host Ubuntu Academy I told her, "Wow. This is amazing. Every summer I look for a special way to promote the voices of youth and teachers in Connecticut, but until you called, I didn't know how I'd make this summer's work as memorable as year's past."

Memorable is an understatement.

Carey put me in touch with artist Rick Shaefer who invited me to his studio to have a preliminary showing of his opus in charcoal, Refugee Trilogy. I knew that the artwork spoke volumes and was more than delighted when replicas of the artwork were delivered to the Invitational Leadership Institute and Ubuntu Academy for the summer. I was able to used the pieces to create prompts to get the students and teachers writing. We were also able to record their writing and piece together soundbites of the work to play alongside the exhibit at the Thomas J. Walsh Gallery located in the Quick Center.

Yesterday, Jennifer Shaner Bangser invited me, Rick Shaefer, iiConn Director Claudia Connor, and Akbar Radjab Niyonkuru, a student from Bassick High School and participant in Ubuntu Academy, to her radio show on WPKN: The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County. The radio show can be heard here,

and it highlights the unique collaboration with an artist who wanted to artistically bring attention to the refugee experience worldwide. We were able to talk about what happened behind the scenes and learn the way that Rick Schaefer's artwork made a tremendous impact on the youth and educators participating in CWP-Fairfield summer programs.

There is not much I can type here that will have the impact of actually listening to the show (so I recommend you go to it). 

I'm feeling fortunate to have had this opportunity present itself and as Akbar and I discussed on the way home from the recording, "We all have a responsibility to speak out."

And now to prepare for tonight's classes!

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