Song of Life
A collaborative work between artist Stephanie Schlatter and the third grade artists at Ada Elementary in Ada, Michigan.
Song of Life is a work about kids helping kids. The third grade children at Ada Elementary learned from Jane Kurtz of Ethiopia Reads about how the children of Ethiopia learn. The children of Ada wanted to help raise money to improve schools in Ethiopia, so local artist Stephanie Schlatter came up with this acacia tree project. In it, each child in class created a collage of an acacia tree made up of torn Ethiopian sheet music and little drawings of trees, sun, grass, and all the things you might find in an African landscape where children in Ethiopia find acacia trees. Stephanie used their little pieces as a guide to create a larger work of art – the one you see before you in Song of Life.
Acacia trees are what the children in Ethiopia see every day, a symbol of hope, strength, and perseverance often found in the desert. Those children need the inspiration of the acacia every day on their way to school. Many live on the wild open plains of Ethiopia where a daily trek to school can be tens to many tens of miles. Others live in dangerous urban environments faced with treacherous street poverty. Ethiopia Reads Art Aid raises money to build and support local schools to give Ethiopia’s children a closer, safer place to learn.
The Song of Life auction helps provide a safe haven for hundreds of these sweet children in Ethiopia. It’s kids helping kids have a basic human right to a hands-on quality education.
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
- Nelson Mandela
Art is for everyone! Yes, even you. I’m a firm believer everyone should live with and enjoy original art and sometimes that means “do it yourself” art. Many people leave their walls blank because they are not sure how to fill them and feel it would be costly to do so. If you have the funds, you won’t regret investing in art that moves you. But you don’t need a big budget to enjoy beautiful art on your walls.
If you have children, have you framed or hung their art from school? This builds their confidence and adds joy and color to your home. Here’s another fun idea; head to your favorite art supplier, buy a canvas, and gather the family or friends around, each with one paint color and a brush. Then have everyone begin painting the area in front of them until you all meet in the middle. You will have a beautiful “under painting”. (image 1) Now throw paint across it like Jackson Pollack (image 2) or collect objects to attach to the canvas. Flowers from your garden or leaves make great stamps. You can dip the flowers and leaves into the desired paint color(s) and press them into your canvas (image 3).
Creating a collage is a favorite “do-it-yourself” project of mine because it’s personal. Using your own photos, post cards, maps, and ticket stubs, you can create an piece of art that reminds you of some of your favorite memories. You will need canvas and “mod podge” (available at the local craft store) to attach your selected items. First, paint the canvas with your favorite color(s). Then tear the images you will be using along the edges or in half for an abstract look. After the images are glued to the canvas in a pleasing arrangement, I like to apply some metallic paint to the areas in between in a random pattern using a sponge (image 4). Try framing special documents, postcards, or architectural drawings as a way to put your personality in your space.
If doing it yourself doesn’t interest you, you can always consider purchasing art from local art fairs. It doesn’t need to be costly to begin your own collection. If you see something that inspires you, buy it! You won’t be sorry. Whether you buy a finished piece or put it together yourself or with your family, I am confident that you begin to look at the walls as a place from which you can draw happiness through art.
Note: The images in this post are taken in Ethiopia where you can find me sharing my passion that art is indeed for everyone.