Friday, February 17, 2012

Studio Africa 2011-12 Welcomes Kramer Middle School!

We are excited this year to welcome Kramer Middle School to Studio Africa!
Monday December 19, 2011 we kicked off the program with a welcome and orientation of the program at Kramer Middle School. Eighteen students participated. Each student introduced themselves and got to watch a slide show presentation of imagery from different places in the world. Their challenge was to guess which country or place they thought each image represented.

The goal of the exercise was to debunk myths and stereotypes of Africa. They learned about the power of imagery and how stereotypes often form unrealistic views and expectations. Students learned the importance of having and using facts to learn and use to shape and form their views verses stereotypes that perpetuate false realities.

Students were also introduced to Kwanzaa, a week-long celebration held in the United States honoring universal African-American heritage and culture, observed from December 26 to January 1 each year. They learned about the seven principles of Kwanzaa and about the symbols designed to convey the seven principals. The symbols include a decorative mat on which other symbols are placed, corn and other crops, a candle holder with seven candles, called a Kinara, a communal cup for pouring libations, gifts, a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag.

The seven principals follow:
Collective Work and Responsibility
Cooperative Economics

Later on they took an assessment test to gage their knowledge in general of Africa and were treated to snacks.

Thanks to Kramer Middle School students and staff, our partners the Link Potomac Chapter and to Maroon life learning Inc. for making making our kick off orientation special!

On Thursday January 12 Kramer Middle School Studio Africa Students travelled on a field trip to the National Museum of African Art.

We welcomed the students and started off with a brief overview and history of the Museum. The students toured the museum and learned about a variety of articles from our Walt Disney-Tishman collection, ( and African Mosaic Exhibition ( that celebrates a decade of collecting for NMAfA. We had prepared a worksheet based on pre-selected primary source artifacts from our collections for the students to collect data about.

Once the tour concluded, the students enjoyed a snack and received a special welcome from our director Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole. Each student introduced themselves and briefly shared what they learned during their tour.

One highlight that stood out to the students was the sculpture of 'Toussaint Louverture and the elderly slave' by Ousman Sow of Senegal. They enjoyed watching the sculpture of the artist at work!

Overall it was indeed a memorable trip for all involved! Thank you Kramer Middle School Students, you were awesome!

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