Jun 05, 2023 Grateful: A Project of Art, Storytelling, and the Student Voices at Eagle View Elementary
By Tony Sams, New Media Specialist, J. Willard Marriott Library
In a display of creativity and collaboration, Eagle View Elementary, a K-8 public school serving the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and The University of Utah are continuing an annual Storytelling exhibition that celebrates the artistic expressions of young minds. This partnership brings together the energy of 8th-grade students and the expertise of professionals from the J. Willard Marriott Library and the College of Fine Arts. Through the art of photography and thoughtful introspection, this endeavor explores the significance of each student’s favorite photo.
Each 8th grader handpicked their favorite photograph. The photo was printed and placed in a frame. Tony Sams, an Educational Technologist from the J. Willard Marriott Library, skillfully captured their portraits, holding their favorite photo.
Kerri Hopkins, a member of the College of Fine Arts, played an integral role in this exhibition by recording an artist statement of each student. When asked the question, “Why is this your favorite photo?”, the students conveyed the meaning behind their choices. Visitors to the exhibition, which filled the main hallway of the elementary school for the last week of classes, could either read the students’ statements or click on the QR code next to their statements and hear the students’ responses.
According to Hopkins, “The students picked photographs that covered a wide variety of memories, experiences and hopes for the future. Having the opportunity to hear the stories in their own voices gives us the chance to get one step closer to the work.” It seems to be a well-received new feature. “Being able to hear the students’ voices was a very cool part of this year’s show.” remarked Ronee K. Wopsock Pawwinee, the Director of Education for the Ute Indian Tribe.
All the younger students at the school and community members were able to visit the exhibition, and on the last day of school the 8th graders were able to take their portraits home.
All the younger students at the school and community members were able to visit the exhibition, and on the last day of school the 8th graders were able to take their portraits home. “We have been coming for many years to Eagleview Elementary School, working together to bring the children a meaningful send-off as they complete 8th grade,” remarks Martha Macomber, director of Native American Outreach and Community Engagement for Undergraduate Studies at the U. “What will continue to be a heartwarming, fun and meaningful storytelling experience for 7th and 8th graders, is producing a collaboration of stakeholders that benefit the students in concrete academic terms. Photography, art and the spoken word nurture trust, and this is the necessary ingredient for all the work between the university and the Ute Indian tribe community going forward.”