Our journey to South Africa begins with a story exchange between Port Elizabeth’s ArtWorks for Youth and New York City’s Dalton School. The two entities are on the opposite ends of the socio-economic spectrum.
John Lombardo, Director of ArtWorks for Youth – which offers free art instruction and academic support to hundreds of students in Port Elizabeth, spearheaded the inter-school exchange. He paired his students with those from New York City’s Dalton School, an independent, highly selective, prestigious, college preparatory school.
Students initially got to know one another through a series of art-based activities over a period of two weeks and learned about one another’s cultures through partnered activities. The N4 story exchange helped students express themselves, and allowed them to consider the other when taking on the story and persona of their partner. Through story and portraiture, students gained an acute and broadened sense of who they are and what they value.
John Lombardo described the story exchange as, “incredible. The respect that was given to every story, both during the retelling and on the part of the wider audience, was remarkable. I have not seen quieter, more attentive students in over 20 years of teaching.”
Our work is only beginning. Under the guidance of N4 board member and ambassador Terry Tempest Williams, we will be working hard on the ground in South Africa this year.