student holds up piece of collage artwork

Fifth grade students at Oakley elementary got to work with a local artist, Ginger Huebner, to create self-portrait style art pieces based on the work of African American artist Romare Bearden.

Both Ginger Huebner and Romare Bearden use collage as their primary art style. Huebner based the lesson around Bearden’s work, a Charlotte native who experienced the Harlem Renaissance in New York City. 

“For the lesson, we work together to share a narrative of our lives,” said Huebner. “Either something that the kids are experiencing now, something that happened in the past or something that they’re wishing for in the future.” The residency goes over Bearden’s work, adding a layer on top of Huebner’s work with pastel to describe the emotion of the piece. The art was folded into their curriculum, incorporating Bearden’s story and work into an exercise into telling one’s own story. Narrative was taught along with African American history, as well as art concepts like color, texture, emotion and metaphor. 

“They each end with this opportunity to share this smidgen of who they are,” said Huebner. "Maybe it’s something their peers wouldn’t know, or they haven’t shared with anybody. It’s a gift to have time to be sharing their creativity, while also incorporating it into their curriculum.”