[Chicago Crossings: Bridges and Boundaries, reel 52; Spertus Museum Symposium]

A class of 8th grade students take a tour of the Spertus Museum of Judaica's 1994 exhibition "Bridges and Boundaries." In this tape, the class discusses works by Edith Altman, Fan Warren, Joel Feldman, Marva Jolly, Hamza Walker, and Esther Parada.

0:00Copy video clip URL Bars and background audio.

0:21Copy video clip URL The students sit on the floor around and amidst Edith Altman’s piece and Paula, the docent, talks about how part of Altman’s piece involved introducing kids from a church in Cabrini-Green community with kids from the Lubavitcher community in Chicago.

4:45Copy video clip URL The class moves on to Fan Warren’s piece and work together to make sense of the possibly meanings. Their teacher says he thinks the piece is about how futile it is to try to weigh the Holocaust against slavery. “There’s no way, I think, that you could really compare one to the other, only to say they were both totally unnecessary, they are part of our history, and it should never happen again. Let’s not compare one as being more evil than another in trying to justify the other, because neither one are justifiable.”

8:20Copy video clip URL They turn around to talk about the woodcuts by Joel Feldman. Paula helps the class decipher the symbols in the pieces.

11:26Copy video clip URL The docent moves on to Marva Jolly’s “spirit women.” One of the students says hello to one of the sculptures and Paula says Jolly might appreciate that, since the scluptures are meant to embody a healing and positive spiritual energy. Some of the students return to the Feldman pieces and discuss their own interpretations of the work. They talk about the role of the media in fanning the flames of things like the Farrakhan issue.

16:40Copy video clip URL The class moves to the pieces by Hamza Walker and Esther Parada. Paula talks about the process of creation using Photoshop and the questions the piece might be asking about the “blending” of races depicted. One student talks about how differences are important, using the metaphor of white ink on white paper or black ink on black paper being impossible to read—it’s the contrast between black and white that makes reading possible.

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