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'Talking Art' With Students Rebuild

Carolyn Martin
Valerie Sloan, Laura Wriedt, and Leonetta Elaiho

Credit Carolyn Martin
Self-portraits from the "Facing Difference" project of Students Rebuild

Students Rebuild is a collaborative program of the Bezos Family Foundation, whose mission is to inspire young people worldwide to connect, learn, and take collective action on critical global issues. Each year, they identify a new challenge to help the world’s youth come together and feel empowered to make a difference. The challenges ask young people to create a symbolic object. The foundation matches the art with funding, which is provided to non-profit organizations who work directly with the crisis or identified problem at hand.

This year's challenge was "Facing Difference". Young people were asked to create self-portraits exploring their own personal identity while examining and celebrating those who are different from them. More than 200,000 self-portraits were submitted for this project, and $600,000 was raised to support youth peace-building in areas of conflict around the world.

The Figge Art Museum in Davenport was selected as the exhibition site for the "Facing Difference" exhibit  this year. Curated by sixth-graders in Davenport Community Schools' Creative Arts Academy, the students were responsible for the design and display of the many portraits submitted from youth around the world.

Credit Carolyn Martin
Self-portraits from the "Facing Difference" project of Students Rebuild

Listen to our conversation here with Laura Wriedt, Outreach and Community Engagement Coordinator for the Figge, and with Leonetta Elaiho and Valerie Sloan of Students Rebuild about the mission of the organization and the importance of celebrating diversity.

The exhibit can be viewed through Sept. 17 in Studio 1 on the 2nd floor of the Figge Art Museum, located at 225 W. 2nd St. in Davenport.

Carolyn Martin joined WVIK as a host of Talking Art in 2017. A long-time fan of NPR programming with a love of storytelling and all art forms, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with creative people who beautify our community and make the Quad Cities region an even better place to live.