Los Angeles, CA

November 16 — December 7, 2020
 

In 2020 we held our first zoom workshops, working with the Holocaust Museum LA and sixth graders from Cesar Chavez Elementary School. The students attended a multi-day virtual program “at” the museum. They learned about the history of the Holocaust from a museum docent. In a second session, Yona Kunstler Nadelman powerfully recounted her memories. She was a five year old Jewish child in Poland when the Holocaust began. On Day 3, they participated in the first Memory Project art workshop, making portraits and sharing the stories of Holocaust survivors, victims and rescuers. Together, these experiences gave them historical background, personal stories and a tactile creative experience to integrate everything.

Because students were working at home, we chose not to use pastels and charcoal as we usually do. Those  materials are messy and parents have enough to cope with!  Instead, they used black and gray crayons to explore light and shadow.  In about 15 minutes of close observation and concentration, everyone transformed flat pieces of paper into three-dimensional images with a life force that shines through. 

In a 4th session, students made portraits of family members using the same technique and are in the process of interviewing those people to find out and share their own family stories. In a few stories they already shared, we heard about parents who fled immense danger in their home countries, who went out of their way to help people in trouble and acted when they saw injustice. We made connections to people who acted as upstanders during the Holocaust.  As we receive more portraits and stories, we will add them to this page. Please enjoy the remarkable portraits in the gallery. We are so proud of the students’ work, grateful to their teacher, Natalie Contreras and the Holocaust Museum of Los Angeles for inviting us to be part of the museum’s “Share our Stories” program.

 


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Student reflections: 

 

“I am not good at drawing but the artists made me feel like it was ok to mess up. It was interesting how people saved Jews and many others even though they could have gotten killed.”  Anthony

 

“I learned that art does not have to be good all the time; it takes time when you get better at it.”  Bryan

 

“I felt like I could draw, paint, or sketch anything. I liked that we drew upside down. It was a challenge but I did it.”  Noah