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Re: everyone has a story to tell

Center for Book Arts has had a program for the last few years, as part of
its community outreach, called "Cultural Autobiography." It is a summer
workshop for inner city teens, taught by Sheryl Shackleton Hawkins, who is
a book artist, a librarian, a teacher, an African-American, and currently a
member of the Center's Board of Directors. The program is offered to the
participants with no tuition or fees. In the Fall the Center mounts an
exhibit of the work produced in this program, with an opening reception,
which gives the young artists an opportunity for an important experience in
exposing their work to their peers and a wider audience. A year or two ago
Sheryl wrote a wonderful article about the program for a journal. If
anyone's interested I'll get the reference and post it.

The quality of expression that I have seen in these exhibits is remarkable.
Youth of many cultures participate, and the content of their books is often
exceptionally moving.

It's been known for many years that teaching Book Arts improves reading
skills. Ed Hutchins is putting together some information on this and other
book arts education topics, and hopefully will share them with us in the
near future. It's important to keep this subject current, and to present it
at education conferences and to Boards of Education, so that funding will
be put into school budgets in all locations for visiting book artists to
train teachers as well as to work with pupils directly. Colleges of
Education should be encouraged to hire book artists as faculty and require
book arts to be part of the foundation curriculum.

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