Springtime Progress from Around the World

In this update we share out first 2021 Artsonia upload from Anaheim California; bring the past into the present through our Elsik High School “sneak preview” from 2021 with a look-back at their 2015 entries; and ofer from Japan a 2020 report and request for a partnership.

The First HP Uploads to Artsonia

Heather Soodak, Art Teacher at Fairmont Prep in Anaheim, California just wrote and informed us that her students are uploading hexagons to Artsonia.com — ZiyingZoe1 being the first! Heather and her students have been long-time participants in the Hexagon Project. Heather describes her project as follows: “Students came up with their own ideas to express conflict resolution and addressing specific issues that they care about. After creating individual hexagons, they will put them together as a group project.”

“Cyberbullying” by ZiyingZoe1

ZiyingZoe1’s artist statement: The message of my artwork is about cyberbullying. Nowadays, social software is becoming more and more popular, people can comment about others freely, which makes cyberbullying become a heated topic. More and more people are suffering from cyber bullying, which has caused great harm to their hearts. Most people choose to tolerate it, which also leads to the problem of cyberbullying becoming more and more serious. I drew the bad words as visible weapons and the girl was attacked by them and the expression on her face was numb like she had been through this many times I want to let people know that words can be weapons that hurt someone and we should stop cyberbullying.

Registration on Artsonia.com can be ongoing but our deadline to be included in the Hexagon Project 2021 jurying is June 30. Be sure to upload images in a project named “Hexagon Project 2021.”

Texas Teacher Returns to the Project

RJ Christensen is an AP Ceramics and Sculpture Teacher at Elsik High School, Houston, Texas. RJ is a very animated and energetic teacher and artist. We met at the InSEA World Congress in 2014 where he attended my presentation about the Hexagon Project. He returned to Texas and inspired his ceramic sculpture students to create complex extruded ceramic 3-D hexagon sculptures which connect to form an installation. In addition, he received a grant to ship it to our September exhibit in Scranton. This was a most spectacular and memorable install which we featured in the front window of our 2015 venue at the Artists for Art Gallery. Now it is the featured image at the top of this post.

2021 Hexagon Project entry by Dulce Torres, “Human Nature”

RJ’s students are with us again in 2021 and provided us a “sneak preview” of one of many exciting works to be entered for 2021, a sculpture by Dulce Torres titled “Human Nature.” RJ is teaching both remotely and face-to-face. RJ wrote the following about the process: “Okay, you know me. I like to change things up a bit, try something new all the time… I allowed students who were here at the school in person and those who were at home to make hexagon sculpture/paintings out of whatever material they wanted. My only requirements were that they had to include a hexagon and the theme had to be about interdependence. They all got the first requirement and a few of them connected visually with interdependence.”

Update from Japan

Last May, we heard about two teachers in Japan, Aya Katagiri, an Art Teacher, and Sonoko Katagiri, an English Language Teacher. These sisters teach in separate schools and, even though they are twins, they have very different ways of facilitating Hexagon Project themes with their students. Each teacher has had to adapt to changes in schools and the impact of COVID-19. Below is an overview of their challenges and successes. We are so overjoyed that these teachers are continuing their participation in the Hexagon Project!

Aya Katagiri, Art Teacher and Sonoko Katagiri, English Language Teacher

Aya is a PhD candidate now working in a new school, Kanagawa Prefectural Sagami Koyokan High School, where she has focused on personal expression of the abstract qualities of Inner Conflict with a student who produced an exceptional portfolio of art work. Miya, grade 12, received the Most Creative and Relevant Award for her hexagon in 2020. This recognition has encouraged Miya to value her abilities and continue with her artistic expression. She was featured in her school’s February 2021 newsletter. Miya’s entire portfolio can be viewed on Artsonia.

Miya had this to say about her work: “I love drawing. Whenever I have time, I spend my time drawing. It is very important for me to express an inspiration. Residents in my head show up and provide hints for drawings, such as when I am having difficulty. I value an inspiration that comes naturally. I have drawn many works so far. One day, an art teacher was very interested in my activities and gave me the opportunity to participate in this project.”

Request for “Pen Hexagon Pals!”

Sonoko was not able to continue with her multi-year “Pen Hexagon Pals” exchange with students of Japanese language in Oregon because of COVID and remote teaching. She is presently looking for another partnership with teachers of Japanese around the world and invites any teachers who might be interested to contact her at sonoko.katagiri @ gmail.com. In the meantime, she launched her “Compassionate Message Project for the World: Think Globally, Act Locally.” Her message follows.

The junior high school students living in the present and wishing for WORLDWIDE goals sent compassionate messages to the world. Against the backdrop of the beautiful nature of the mountains in their hometown seen through the windows of the corridor on the second floor, a little courage crossed the border, crossed the sea, and embarked on a journey. Hexagons of kindness were delivered to the people of the world. Just a year ago, the new Coronavirus began to spread around the world. This year has been a series of hardships for people all over the world, and we still don’t even know when it will end. We thought about what we could do now and volunteered to launch the “Compassionate Message Project for the World”. We first gave energy to everyone in the school and shared the art space with the Christmas exhibits of the art club. Our messages are from the perspective of international understanding, so that the world can become “one” and have a hopeful year. These messages were then sent mainly to the schools overseas (the USA, Australia, South Korea), and to the elderly, schoolteachers, a musician, a translator, a postal worker, a journalist, an embassy official, medical professionals, etc. (to Germany, Greece, Brazil, Turkey, India, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Taiwan and in Japan) A few days later, we received a lot of replies from across the sea.

Sonoko Katagiri

Let Us Know of Your Progress

We are very grateful to these participating teachers who connected and shared these exciting and heartwarming developments for 2021. We invite all teachers and community groups to send news of progress through our Facebook or Instagram pages. We look forward to seeing all hexagons on Artsonia at the end of June or before.