Unity Flag: We are Powerful and Create Beauty When We Work Together

Art in all forms—visual, music, dance, drama—can be uplifting and help us transcend feelings of difference and of isolation. After a challenging year that required students to truly work together to keep our community safe and open for in-person classes, SCH art teachers wanted to commemorate the community’s extraordinary efforts. The teachers chose to lead the students in creating a “Unity Flag“ to symbolize the travails and triumphs of the 2020-2021 school year.

Inspired by the iconic work of artists Jasper Johns and Faith Ringgold, three Middle School art teachers invited their students to collaborate on creating a lasting work of art. Each student contributed a 4x4" mixed-media/wood square that expressed their feelings about unity through the use of text and imagery. Messages include the simple, powerful words of “love, peace, and equality,” as well as words of courage from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “the time is always right to do what is right” and from poet Amanda Gorman: “For there is always light if we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it.”

Art teacher Judy Callas commended the students: "Our students proved that when given a challenge, they can dig deep and communicate messages of strength and unity, and also help document this time in our nation’s history.”

In total, 312 wooden squares—from the students, faculty and staff—were attached to 4 x 8-foot board and assembled to form one large, vibrant flag.  This stunning installation is now hanging in the SCH Middle School. “This piece represents all of us and I could not be more proud. In all of my years as an art teacher, this installation has proven to be one of the most emblematic of our caring community,” added Callas.

We hope this vivid reminder of an extraordinary year will inspire current and future students. The flag declares our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and that our similarities as human beings are always greater than our differences. Regardless of where the eye focuses, one thing is certain: we are powerful and create beauty when we work together.

 

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