It’s a unique combination: history and art. And two teachers at The Dayton Regional STEM School are making creative connections between the two disciplines to educate students about conflict and genocide.
Four years ago, World History teacher Arch Grieve teamed with Language Arts teacher Jenn Reid to develop a creative new way to help their 10th grade students gain a better understanding of mass atrocities and genocides. Together they educate but equally important, they provide a creative outlet. Working with students, they craft posters telling the stories of past genocides and current conflicts with a youthful perspective.
Coupling the emotionally taxing history of past genocides with the ability to express emotions through art creates a powerful experience for the students and their local community with artwork being displayed in venues across the city.
Here are some of our favorites from this year’s exhibition:
War Isn’t a Game
The inspiration of Callie Heilegenberg and Sa-Shai Daniels’ poster, “War Isn’t a Game” was spurred after reading A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, a story portraying both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Influenced by the fact that no one really wins a war, Callie and Sa-Shai wanted their poster to underscore that there should be better ways to solve conflicts. The words on the blocks signify the many aspects behind the fighting, and the inevitable downfall and destruction of both sides.
“The idea was that when anyone has a war or is in a war, there is really no positive outcome, there’s always death and destruction. We couldn’t understand why there couldn’t be a better way to solve it and have a more peaceful outcome so that both sides are successful.”
– Callie Heilegenberg
We Are All in the Same Box
Vyshu Ramini and Katie Marker’s poster, “We Are All in the Same Box” conveys the immense racism in the Holocaust. Vyshu and Katie wanted to illustrate that it was not just Jews who were persecuted. Using a poster of a box of crayons, the girls show the different races and religions that suffered during the Holocaust.
“It’s important to show different sides of the conflict, instead of what is just primarily known about the genocide.”
– Katie Marker
Was it Really Never Again?
Eddie Love and Ray Hampton won second place at the 2015 Max May Memorial Contest for their poster, “Was it Really Never Again?” Eddie and Ray’s poster intended to convey the failure of the United Nation to fulfill its 1948 promise that “Never Again” would acts of genocide like the Holocaust be repeated. Since that vow, the international community has failed to stop genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Eddie and Ray wanted to highlight the countless deaths that have ensued as a result of genocidal acts after the call of “never again”.
“What we wanted to do is show that if you say you’re going to stop genocidal acts, you need to do that and the U.N. wasn’t.”
– Ray Hampton
Posters from the exhibit can be viewed and purchased at the Wright State University’s Educational Resource Center, the Dayton International Peace Museum and the Dayton Art Institute.