(East Hartford, CT) The unifying theme at CREC’s Two Rivers Magnet Middle School in East Hartford is environmental science and technology, giving students the knowledge and skills they need to tackle the 21st century’s major scientific and environmental challenges. This does not mean, however, that students and staff at the East Hartford school are afraid to take on the world’s pressing social issues.
The CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School is participating in a nation-wide educational and hands-on art lesson known as “One Million Bones.” This social arts practice is designed to increase student awareness of current social issues and support the connections between experiential education, the arts, and deeper learning and civic engagement.
This particular lesson focuses on genocide and similar humanitarian crises. For the next several months, students at CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School will work in conjunction with students, artists, and activists from across the country to hand-make bones out of clay and plaster during art class. These mock bones will be gathered together and become part of the One Million Bones public art installation on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in the spring of 2013.
The project began when art teacher Carl Pastor, was approached by Mary Quintas, Connecticut’s state coordinator for the One Million Bones/Students Rebuild project. Pastor, who is supervising the project, embraced the idea, saying One Million Bones is a “great activity and a great opportunity for our students to be involved in creating public awareness and support for humanitarian issues.”
When the CREC students are finished with their contribution in early spring, Quintas will package all of the plaster bones and ship them off to the nation’s capital to be part of the collaborative installation.
According to the project’s website, this public art project will serve as a collaborative site of conscience to remember victims and survivors. It is a visible petition to raise awareness of the issue and call upon the government to take action. Every bone created through this initiative generates a $1 donation (to a maximum of $500,000) from the Bezos Family Foundation. The Foundation has pledged to commit the donations to CARE, an anti-poverty organization, for their work on the ground in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. CREC’s Two Rivers Magnet Middle School has set a goal of making at least 2,000 to 3,000 bones for the installation. For more information about