A river is flowing through the hallways of Whitson with waves made of words versus water.
In celebration of World Language Week at the end of February, the World Language Department coordinated an art installation called "River of Words." Language students in Grades 5 through 12 participated by creating an illustrated word poster.
Each student chose a word in the language they study that has personal meaning for them. As such, words were created in French, Latin, Mandarin, and Spanish. Some students created an extra poster featuring a word in a language that is part of their family’s cultural heritage.
Grouped together, all of the word art posters create a river of words that flows through the stairwell of Whitson Hall, according to Latin teacher Stephanie Spaulding.
“Looking at ‘River of Words,’ it is clear that we have so much that connects us as a human community. There are repeating themes like love, friendship, music, sports, and food. In these works of art, you can see what we value as a community. It gives us the opportunity to show our students what connects them to each other and to people living all around the world. It really is beautiful,” said Ms. Spaulding.
The art installation is just one element of World Language Week, which is celebrated in all three divisions at Hamden Hall.
"We've been celebrating World Language Week for three decades, and each year our faculty and students add a new component that keeps this tradition vibrant and relative. This year's installation of the 'River of Words' is yet another example of what makes Hamden Hall so special. We continue to create a wonderful culture of learning via myriad mediums across all of our levels," said Head of School Bob Izzo.
Groups and classes are now being invited to participate in a Museum Walk to officially view the ‘River of Words’ as a platform for open discussion about global cultures and the connections we all share. The artwork is appropriate for students in all grades.
Besides the river, there is also a project explanation featured on the landing between the second and third floors of Whitson, which contains a large bulletin board.
Each word – no translation – was transformed into a work of art on uniform poster board. Pictures, images, and graphics were also incorporated in the poster to help convey the meaning of the word. The overall installation has a color story of greys, greens, and blues.
In choosing their word, students were asked “What is the word of your heart?”
“It's been really exciting to see how much creativity the students have put into such a simple task. Our kids have done so much in such a small space with only one word. Also, from a community standpoint, it allows kids to connect with one another, as they can see commonality as well as diversity in the ways their peers interpreted the assignment and their respective words,” said Middle School Director Brian Christman.