Teacher, Amy Bitcover, teaches at International Community School. ICS was developed as a public charter school in Dekalb County, Georgia, with an explicit mission: to educate refugee, immigrant and local elementary school children in a setting that explores and celebrates cultural differences of students, staff and families at the school. Since it opened its doors in 2002, the school has developed into a place where students with diverse backgrounds come together to learn about themselves and each another, and to move toward academic excellence.
About the art initiative, Amy shares, “Since our school is so multicultural, I thought it would be a perfect activity to make mixed media self portraits. To begin the project, we looked at pictures of people from around the world, different ages, gender, religion and physical ability. We talked about how to describe people by observing their skin color, hair color, age, clothing and what these characteristics can tell us about them. Books that lent themselves to this initiative included:
The Colors of Us – Karen Katz
The Skin You Live In – Michael Tyler
Next, we planned our self portraits and then starting working on cloth, painting, mixing our skin colors. We are now adding different media to the portraits like yarn, buttons, and cloth. We can’t wait to visit the Embracing Differences exhibit at Oglethorpe Museum and have a chance to see what other students did with this project.”