“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” Rabbi Hillel, Pirkei Avot
This well-known quote from Pirkei Avot - Ethics of our Fathers - is the theme of the PJA Middle School Summer Reading Program. At the end of each school year, Middle School students are offered a wide selection of books to read over the summer months and when they return to school in the fall, they dive into the theme with discussion groups, reflections, and artwork. This past summer’s theme was the second part of Hillel’s quote: “If I am only for myself, what am I?” and emphasizes the importance of listening to the voices of others.
Students and faculty gathered last week for their Summer Reading Celebration and had the special opportunity to learn from guest artist, Stephanie Littlebird Fogel, who is an artist, writer, curator, and registered member of Oregon’s Grand Ronde Confederated Tribes. (Steph is also a former student of PJA Humanities Teacher, Marcie Brewer, from over 20 years ago at Banks Junior High School!) Steph spoke with PJA students about her experiences as an indigenous person growing up in a small town, the role that art and writing have played in her life, and her evolution as an activist and representative of her native community.
Steph led the students through her creative style and process and provided a brief art lesson in line, color, and symmetry. Students then chose a symbol from their book which embodies the experience of one of the characters and illustrated that using some of the techniques that Steph taught them. Watch for images of the completed art pieces by students next week on PJA’s Instagram!
Photo credit: Steph Littlebird
Find Stephanie at facebook.com/sjfogel and on instagram @artnerdforever
- MS Curriculum