WABI talks with graduate students about connecting through art

WABI (Channel 5) spoke with graduate art students at the University of Maine about a project they’re using as a way to spark community conversations about the COVID-19 pandemic and protests happening throughout the world. Rochelle Lawrence, an Intermedia Master of Fine Arts candidate at UMaine, recalls making bread with her children over a fire at the Common Ground Fair as an experience that brought people together. “So just on a whim, I created a block cut of fire bread,” Lawrence said. She printed cloth bags with the design and filled them with all the dry ingredients needed to bake bread, according to the report. “And I just sent it to my classmates,” she said, including Adele Drake, arts instructor at Hampden Academy. “It was so engaging for my children and for myself at this time when everybody is just in front of their screens,” said Drake. Lawrence started creating the bags for Hampden Academy students to take home and share with their families. “I honestly don’t think it would have happened if we weren’t doing a remote learning model,” said Drake. “So many things were learned during this time and one of them is that in the future, I will hope to always have some aspect of this. Kids who hadn’t really engaged at all in my class, they sent me the pictures from the Fire Bread Project.” Students also submitted reflections from the project. “The issues that they discussed ranged from things like their daily schedules, the remote learning process to issues of climate change,” said Drake. “But the number one issue that they felt is most important to this is Black Lives Matter. You can see that they’re processing exactly what’s happening right now in the world, so for me that was very successful.”