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Saturday, November 12, 2016

From Paris to Knoxville - Part 4

Thursday, October 20 was the biggest day of my trip to Knoxville.

That morning, I visited the L&N STEM Academy, a magnet high school in the Knox County School system that focuses on the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math. It provides an integrated curriculum and project-based instruction.

L&N STEM Academy
© Wells International Foundation

Even though the name implies that the arts are not a focus of the curriculum, I found that L&N has a marvelous and robust arts program!

Students work on self-portraits at L&N STEM Academy
© Wells International Foundation

I was given a tour by London, a brilliant student who wants to specialize in graphic design. He perfectly articulated why arts are so important for STEM activities - they encourage the creativity and innovation required for scientific discovery and invention.

London, a student at L&N STEM Academy
© Wells International Foundation

I then sat down with a staff member to learn about the curriculum and the school's ranking in the Tennessee education system (6th in the entire state.)

If you're wondering why I chose to visit a STEM school as part of this trip, let me inform (or remind) you that the Global Educator Program that was held during the Paris exhibition was all about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education. A similar program will be organized at the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) when the exhibition comes to Knoxville in 2018.

After a strategy-planning lunch with KMA Executive Director David Butler, Link Sylvia Peters, and attorney Melinda Meador (all of whom came to Paris for the opening of Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color), I was taken to City Hall to meet Knoxville's mayor!

The Honorable Madeline Rogero and Senior Director of Community Development Avice Reid welcomed us to the mayor's spacious suite of offices and listened to Executive Director Butler, Link Peters, and me tell the story of our passion for Beauford and why making Knoxville a resource center for him is in everyone's best interest. From the point of view of tourism, scholarship, and historical preservation, we all agreed that Knoxville should be an essential destination for anyone wanting to learn about Beauford.

From left to right: Avice Reid, Monique Y. Wells,
Mayor Madeline Rogero, Sylvia Peters, David Butler
© Wells International Foundation

The final event of the day was my presentation on Beauford's Paris at the Knoxville Museum of Art. The evening was entitled "From Paris to Knoxville" and KMA's auditorium was filled with people who were anxious to see images of several of Beauford's Paris haunts.

Stephen Wicks, Barbara W. and Bernard E. Bernstein Curator for the museum, served as MC for the evening.

Stephen Wicks, Barbara W. and Bernard E. Bernstein Curator
Knoxville Museum of Art
© Wells International Foundation

Beck Cultural Exchange Center's CEO, Reneé Kesler, addressed the audience to share why preserving the Delaney family home is so important to the history of Knoxville.

Reneé Kesler, CEO of Beck Cultural Exchange Center
© Wells International Foundation

Then I delivered my presentation.

Monique delivering presentation "From Paris to Beyond"
© Wells International Foundation

To close the evening, Knoxville Links Chapter President Avice Reid told the audience how the chapter intends to support the initiative by raising funds to bring Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color to KMA. She presented Executive Director Butler with a $5000 down payment on the monies they intend to raise.

Presenting the check
© Wells International Foundation

All in all, tremendous momentum has been created for the Beauford Delaney in America initiative!

Next week: Beauford on the menu.

Read Part 1 of "From Paris to Knoxville" by clicking HERE.

Read Part 2 of "From Paris to Knoxville" by clicking HERE.

Read Part 3 of "From Paris to Knoxville" by clicking HERE.

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