In spring 2019, AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School and The Phillips Collection collaborated on a workshop series devoted to preserving and celebrating family history through art. At the museum, participants were inspired by Jacob Lawrence’s storytelling in The Migration Series and Sam Gilliam’s mixed-media techniques in Purple Antelope Space Squeeze. Families also had the chance to read a selection of Coretta Scott King award-winning picture books in a special exhibition at Phillips@THEARC, which included Bryan Collier’s Uptown, a picture book about a boy’s journey through New York City to his Harlem home.
Over the next few weeks, inspired by Lawrence, Gilliam, and Collier, families explored their own stories, re-creating them in mixed-media collages. Parents and caregivers discussed these stories with their children as they experimented with media such as felt, fabric, and paper, and practiced techniques like painting, printmaking, drawing, collaging, and assembling. They collaborated as families to make artistic choices about the colors, shapes, lines, symbols, and materials that would best tell their stories.