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Holiday/Christmas Cards

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From: Jean Eger Womack (jeaneger_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Oct 31 2001 - 08:16:16 PST


Dear Myriam,
If I were you, I would tell the credit union that your kids can't
participate in the art contest because it is against the law for you to
limit your art work to religious images, especially of one religion. They
know that already and shouldn't be asking you to do that. I don't know why
people ask stuff like that. I think it is just to see how vulnerable you
are to pressure of that kind. It makes life a living hell for a teacher to
be under that kind of attack. Also, they are trying to dictate to you what
to teach and you could remind them that you went to college for many years
to accumulate the kind of knowledge and experience that enables you to teach
art. If they want to come to the school and teach the kids how to save
their money, that would be appropriate, but not to tell the art teacher what
kind of images she should have the kids do. (Sounds like they are trying to
save money by not hiring a professional artist to create the kind of card
they want.) Also, you are limited by the standards in your state or
territory or the national standards about what the content of your courses
should be. Also you are thinking about combining the HOLIDAY cards with the
Chinese New Years cards and is it all right if you limit the kids to
pictures of horses? Because you would have to teach the kids some religious
symbolism, which would not be a bad thing to do, but not under the
circumstances you describe.

I guess you probably won't want to actually say all that. You might just
say that you will try to find another sponsor for your holiday card contest.
I am sure that you will not have any trouble finding someone to donate $200
for a multicultural holiday card contest.

So much of art has religious images, that I guess most teachers don't worry
about it, they just go ahead and teach it. What if every picture of a
mother and child was considered to be the virgin and baby? That would be a
little ridiculous, wouldn't it?
It's a basic theme in all world art.

It may be that there is some new federal policy of safety in churches in the
face of the terrorist threat (a la World War II, where we all put on the
public face of god-fearing middle class America, in order to protect the
Jews). If that is the case, then you might take the matter up with your
principal.

Jean Eger Womack sticks her head out once again. (I'm a half-baked
Methodist.)
http://www.jeaneger.com

-----Original Message-----
From: cemy@att.net [mailto:cemy@att.net]
Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 2:29 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Holiday/Christmas Cards

I'm sure someone can help me in this situation.

As I've mentioned before, I teach high school in a US
Army installation in Puerto Rico. We try to be
politically correct and I avoid topics where
racial/ethnic differences might create a problem.

The federal credit union on base sponsors a Christmas
card contest where the prizes go up to $200 for the
winning design in each school. This year they have asked
us to limit the entries to religious images (meaning
Christian)and puertorican folk images. I can focus on
the local images without problem because I can say that
it's a multicultural kind of project. But I'm afraid
that some non-Christian parent might complain about the
religious aspect.

Should I just not mention the religious aspect? The
three kings (Magi) are part of the local tradition so if
the students bring it up themselves, I wouldn't censor
it. But I do not want to specify that it's an option.
Would this be okay?

I hope I have made my situation clear. Thanks a lot for
your imput.
Myriam

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