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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville Autumn 2019 Semester Is Underway

For the fourth consecutive semester, the Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville program is uniting elementary school students who are 7-10 years old at Jean Zay Elementary School in Paris and Nature's Way Montessori School in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Classes Duo is a collaboration between the Wells International Foundation (WIF) and the City of Paris' CASPE* administrative service. It is one of the many programs and projects that has emerged from the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition, which was held in Paris in 2016.

At its inception in January 2018, sixteen (16) students from Jean Zay and sixteen (16) students from Nature's Way began connecting via video conference to learn about each other's language and culture through Beauford's life and art. The Nature's Way students, along with their parents and Nature's Way educators, visited Paris last October to meet their French counterparts.

Today, half of the students from Nature's Way have left the program because they are now more than 10 years old or because they no longer attend the school. Eight students remain. Several Jean Zay students have left for similar reasons, and their slots have been filled with new students who are excited about joining the program.

The first art project that the students have undertaken is the recreation of Beauford's 1944 self-portrait, which hangs at the Art Institute of Chicago. This served to introduce the new Jean Zay students to Beauford's art as well as his story.

(1944) Oil on canvas
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
By permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Educator Juliette Blache reported that the bright colors and powerful brushstrokes in this painting inspired the students, who used watercolors to copy Beauford's self-portrait.

Recreating Beauford's 1944 self-portrait
Image courtesy of Juliette Blache

Student renditions of 1944 Self-portrait
Image courtesy of Juliette Blache

To see images of the Jean Zay students' individual works, click HERE.

To see images of the Nature's Way students' individual works, click HERE.

Among the additional lessons planned for this semester are a clay sculpting session and a sketching / painting session using photos of places in Knoxville and Paris that were important to Beauford coupled with a science lesson on how cameras work.

The impact of this groundbreaking educational program has been documented in a case study published in the September 2019 issue of the journal Theory and Practice in Language Studies. Read the article HERE.

Case Study in Theory and Practice in Language Studies
© Wells International Foundation

Everyone involved in Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville is looking forward to another extraordinary semester of learning and fun!

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

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