Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is partnering with the Wells International Foundation (WIF) to take the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition to the U.S.!

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Classes Duo Paris/Knoxville - A Successful Debut

In the Les Amis blog post dated December 16, 2017, I shared news about Classes Duo Paris/Knoxville - a collaborative project between the Wells International Foundation (WIF) and the City of Paris' CASPE* administrative service that has emerged from the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition.

Sixteen (16) students from Jean Zay Elementary Public School in Paris and sixteen (16) students from Nature's Way Montessori School in Knoxville, TN are connecting via video conference to learn about each other's language and culture through Beauford's life and art.

The first video conference was held on January 12, 2018. It was an unqualified success, with the French and American students taking turns introducing themselves by name and stating their ages on camera. Having practiced ahead of time, the French students were able to introduce themselves in English and the American students were able to do so in French.

Jean Zay students
© Wells International Foundation

Nature's Way students
Image courtesy of Nature's Way Montessori School

With the adult leaders translating, each group then asked questions of the other – things such as whether they like school, where they have traveled, whether they have seen popular landmarks (Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building), and whether they like candy. The French students showed two posters they created that displayed small portrait drawings and a photo of Beauford Delaney. Both posters bore Delaney's name, acknowledging the man whose legacy is binding the students together.

Jean Zay students proudly show their Beauford Delaney poster
© Wells International Foundation

The second video conference was held on February 2, 2018. Students from both schools focused their artistic talents on creating drawings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and images of various modes of travel inspired by Beauford's maiden voyage from the U.S. to France on the S.S. Liberté. Students from Jean Zay also drew portraits of Rosa Parks and Josephine Baker, inspired by these women's roles in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and the sites named after them in Paris. They wrote reports about King, Parks, and Baker and read them to the Nature's Way students during the conference.

Jean Zay students' portraits of Rosa Parks
© Wells International Foundation

Nature's Way student's portrayal of modes of travel
between the U.S. and France
Image courtesy of Nature's Way Montessori School

To get to know each other better during the second conference, the students shared what they had for breakfast that morning. The Nature's Way students asked if the Jean Zay students had been to the Eiffel Tower and a lively exchange ensued as the Jean Zay students revealed that the Eiffel Tower can be seen from a vantage point near their school. Several students also talked about the view they have of the Eiffel Tower from their apartment buildings.

Both groups are growing increasingly excited about the prospect of the Nature's Way students paying a visit to Paris to visit the Jean Zay students. The target date for this trip is Autumn 2018.

The next video conference is scheduled for March 9, 2018. In preparation for this meeting, the students will create sculptures from red clay—just as Beauford and his brother, Joseph, did during their youth.

To see additional images of the students' artwork, click on the links below:

Martin Luther King, Jr. by Nature's Way students
MLK, Rosa Parks, Josephine Baker by Jean Zay students
Travel by Nature's Way and Jean Zay students

Watch this blog for updates on how the program progresses!

*CASPE - Circonscription des Affaires Scolaires et de la Petite Enfance

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