Living

Students tell stories through quilting

By Lynsey Saunders

Monroe County School District

Horace O’Bryant School students hold their story quilt of Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy. Pictured are authors and artists Skylar Larmel and Olivia Sanchez (kneeling) and Heaven Rodriguez, Alexa Molback and Jessica Nitte (standing).
Horace O’Bryant School students hold their story quilt of Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy. Pictured are authors and artists Skylar Larmel and Olivia Sanchez (kneeling) and Heaven Rodriguez, Alexa Molback and Jessica Nitte (standing).

Students at Horace O’Bryant School recently completed a unique hands-on art project thanks in part to an Anne McKee Artists Fund grant.

Stephanie Manaher’s eighth grade language arts students collaborated with Katie Holtkamp’s art classes to produce Key West Story Quilts. The $500 grant allowed for the students to be able to tell a story through the art of quilt making. The students crafted two quilts with the help of the Paradise Quilters.

The Seam Shoppe donated materials and local artists and craftspeople helped students assemble the quilts. The project took four months to complete. The beautifully painted quilts showcase familiar Key West sites – the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration and the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy. The collaborative process required authors from the eighth grade language arts class to write a story and the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders to create the quilts based on the stories the students wrote.

Mrs. Manaher said this collaborative teaching and learning effort was important for the students to experience because they were able to learn how integrative processes bring ideas and concepts together to make tangible pieces.

“It allows students to participate in a cross-curricular activity and to see that each individual component integrates beautifully into a final product. To see their work displayed in a public place is thrilling for students as well,” Manaher said.

Manaher also said the process was a true community effort, with businesses, local artists and quilt makers all pitching in to work on the project. Before the quilts go on display permanently at Horace O’Bryant School, they will be displayed at The Studios of Key West.

Lynsey Saunders is the Monroe County School District’s communications and community relations coordinator.

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