One thing I never understood was how I could live with people from all over the world and yet know nothing about them.
As a graduate of Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, a boarding school representing 50 countries, I have wished there was some way I could go back in time and ask better questions. To ask Kristin and Jon what they did for fun in Saudi Arabia, or my roommate Maya about her life in Bosnia. The Bosnian War had just ended when we met. We were barely 14.
As an artist today, I have been focusing on the following questions: What do we believe in, and why? Where do these stories come from? These questions begot more questions: What are we afraid of? What do we wish for?
In Spring of 2018, I was asked to lead a “Community Day” workshop for Rabun Gap students based on Making Conversations. Through a series of questions, students one by one shared they felt they knew nothing of real substance about their classmates. I was amazed. sixteen years later, this was still an issue.
Seeing the need, I developed a high school curriculum from my project and in the fall of 2018 I returned to Rabun Gap to teach. Over a semester, my arts-facilitating curriculum shaped a new generation of civil pioneers as we tackled the lack of meaningful engagement on campus. Together, we asked honest questions of ourselves and of one another. Using pottery, students shared their hurts and hopes with illustration and personal narrative.
The semester culminated in a campus luncheon led by the students. Using their pottery to prompt conversation, students presented their work and their stories as faculty guided conversation at each table.