Navigating New Literacies Features Granger High School Art, 7/8 – 8/27

July 5
7:28 PM 2014
Navigating New Literacies Features Granger High School Art, 7/8 – 8/27

In the spring of 2014, Granger High art students collaborated to create this 29 panel contemporary painting reflecting their impressions of how literacy in different fields of study is supported and at the same time challenged by new technologies and popular culture. Literacy is a major problem facing the students at Granger High School because of immigration and poverty. These students also face 21st Century challenges such as learning how to be creative, to use technology appropriately and learning to collaborate with others. Students who contributed to this painting were asked to respond to the question: Where will literacy take you? Images painted on the panels make reference to the knowledge that is available through books and reading, the challenge of integrating popular culture and technology, and the endless opportunities that are available to students when they make the effort to learn and follow cultural expectations such as choosing to seek higher education. Each panel in the collective work is organized to stand independently or to work in groups of any size, symbolizing that literacy provides personal power, which brings opportunities to influence and change their communities and the world.

Teacher's Artist Statement:

The idea for Navigating New Literacies began as my painting students and I watched New York Artist Julie Mehretu' s Art 21 series. I saw in my mind's eye a solution to several problems I was struggling with. First, I wanted my students to learn that they had the ability to contribute to the contemporary art world now by collaborating to make art about something meaningful to them. Second, we are in a brand new school with high walls and our Principal was asking for paintings to display in the school. A large, multi-paneled, multi-layered, mixed media, conceptual painting seemed to be a great place to start. Third, this year, the teachers at Granger High School were challenged to help students understand the importance of literacy in each area of study.

Each panel began with books flying in a storm, then students chose to stamp or collage synonyms of literacy onto the work. Next came images of technology, the new literacy. Students designed images of headphones, microphones, iPhones and ear buds and printed their panels in bright colors, representing both the distraction and benefit of the popular culture. Bird-like images, flying in formation, symbolize their own efforts to navigate successfully through the challenges of immigration, poverty, literacy and new technologies in the unpredictable 21st Century.

Everyone is invited to the opening reception and exhibit FREE of charge (July 10, 6 - 8 p.m). Exhibition runs July 8 - Aug 27, 2014.

Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 West 3100 South.

For more information about this and other exhibits or events at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, please call 801-965-5100 or visit, 'like' us on facebook at or follow us on twitter @WVCUCCC.

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