The “JUST US” project explores empathy through community tissue paper quilts

Friday, April 22, 2022

Local youth will explore the concept of empathy by creating community fabric quilts. The project is part of this year’s “JUST US”, a program that uses art to help students express their feelings.

JUST US is a partnership between UNCW, local schools and after-school programs. Led by UNCW’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, this year’s program is funded in part by South Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. The curriculum was written by Janna Robertson, a professor at Watson College of Education.

“After participating in the AIDS Quilt Sections Campus Tour in December, I was moved by this use of art to communicate – for me, empathy was an overwhelming emotion,” Kimberley said. Cheatham, Outreach Coordinator of OIDI. “I saw an opportunity to connect our tissue paper quilts project with a similar outcome. Dr. Robertson has been a great partner over the past year and understands JUST US’s vision of helping young people develop skills interpersonal skills and foster their ability to succeed.

The program features the AIDS quilt as the touchstone of the project. Students from area nonprofits and elementary and middle schools serving diverse populations will create tissue paper quilts, guided by the work of award-winning artist Maya Freelon. ​After completing a section of the quilts at their school or after-school programs, students will come together to combine the individual sections into larger quilts. The highlight of the project will be a presentation of Freelon and his handcrafted design of student artwork. The exhibition will take place on May 1 at 3:30 p.m. in the atrium of Watson College of Education. More than 200 young people are expected.

“It was an ideal fit for the JUST US initiative on many levels – demonstrating the ingenuity of using readily available materials to create, and the charm and appeal that comes from diversity,” Cheatham said. . “The hope is that we will be more proactive in dealing with our discomfort with perceived differences and take more time to consider the feelings and perspectives of others.”

Venita Jenkins
#OIDI
#WCE

Students from area nonprofits and elementary and middle schools serving diverse populations will create tissue paper quilts, guided by the work of award-winning artist Maya Freelon.​

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