Exhibits That Teach

Established in 2000 and expanded in 2007, the Exhibits That Teach program develops museum quality exhibits and accompanying Artists/Scholars-in-Residence programs for Utah’s public and private schools.

CDEA’s history of creating successful traveling exhibits and accompanying publications on the state’s diverse cultures motivated the organization to bring its expertise to Utah schools, so K-12 students could benefit from the work of the nation’s and region’s premier documentary artists.

The Artists/Scholars-in-Residence component was introduced in 2007 to engage students in intensive, long-term projects that involve the study and use of the documentary arts genre; the exploration of ETT exhibit content; and the creation of original, student-generated art that involves new ways to integrate arts learning with learning in other subjects. Currently, four ETT exhibits are traveling through Utah with three exhibits equipped with Artists/Scholars-in-Residence components.

What does a participating school recieve?

Ceremonies exhibit at the SLC Main Public Library.

A participating school receives a museum quality exhibit and a four-to-eight-week long Artists/Scholars-in-Residence program that explores contemporary issues such as:

  • The journeys and acculturation experiences of Utah’s refugee youth (these young people have come to Utah from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas);
  • The aesthetic and cultural value of Utah’s first artists as presented by the state’s
    four styles of rock art;
  • The 50-year-old sister city relationship between Salt Lake City and Matsumoto, Japan, that helped heal the wounds of the Second World War and form genuine friendships between Americans and Japanese; and
  • Utah’s ecological/environmental challenges and potential as evidenced in better understanding the past, present, and future of the Jordan River.

In each residency, experienced artists and scholars use field trips, storytelling, photography, journal writing, film, videography, visual arts, poetry, and prose to guide students to explore exhibit content and to create original student art. ETT exhibits also are accompanied by educational material produced by CDEA staff and Utah teachers. This educational material includes curriculum guides for elementary, intermediate, and high school students; exhibit catalogues; and films. ETT exhibits and Artists/Scholars-in-residence programs are designed to ignite students’ imaginations, empower their creative explorations, enhance their social skills, and expand their learning experiences.

How can my school participate?

Jordan High School students standing behind their completed mural.

To bring an ETT exhibit and residency to your school, please contact Doris Mason, CDEA Executive Assistant, or Kent Miles, CDEA Coordinator of Exhibits and Collections. Click here to reach Doris Mason, Click here to reach Kent Miles. or call them at 801-355-3903. Please try to contact CDEA at least a year prior to the expected date of your program. The year of preparation is necessary to help arrange funding for your school and to facilitate coordination with administration and faculty.

Also, please note, it is possible to lease an ETT exhibit without an accompanying Artists/Scholars-in-Residence program. For such leasing information, contact Doris Mason or Kent Miles.

Development for Teachers

A detail of the Ceremonies exhibit at the Salt Lake City main public library.

Professional development for teachers involved in the ETT program is a high CDEA priority. We plan in-service trainings with administration and faculty months before a residency.

An in-service will be contoured to meet the needs of a school’s faculty and can last anywhere from an hour to a full day.

The in-service subject will grow out of the contents of the residency and can demonstrate how teachers can better utilize field trips, storytelling, photography, mural painting, oral history interviews, creative writing, and videography to develop student interest in local history, local and national politics, social studies, ecology, geography, life biology, social justice, environmental justice, language arts, visual arts, and media arts.

ETT Videos

ETT Exhibits That Are Available

Faces and Voices of Refugee Youth

Faces and Voices of Refugee Youth exhibit at Salt Lake County Complex.

Faces and Voices of Refugee Youth is an exhibit of intimate portraits and touching interviews with youth who have endured unimaginable circumstances.

Jeremiah Atem tells of the enduring hope that kept him alive during his escape from religious persecution in the Sudan. Muna Ali, born in Somalia, describes the reality of being “homeless.” “Even though we have a place to live,” the teen states, “in our hearts we don’t have a home; there is nowhere to go back to.”

Between 1994 and 1999, an estimated 1,850 youth, given refugee status by the U.S. Government, migrated to Utah from approximately twenty-two different countries in six geographical regions. This exhibit was created to tell their stories, so their acculturation into Utah life will not be made more difficult by a lack of tolerance and understanding.

Faces and Voices of Refugee Youth was awarded the Utah Education Association’s 2002 Charles E. Bennett Award for Human and Civil Rights and the 2003 National Education Association’s Applegate-Dorros Award for Peace and International Understanding. The exhibit contains thirty images with extensive wall text, which reveals the children’s flight from persecution; their finding temporary haven in refugee camps; and their efforts to acculturate into Utah’s educational environment. The exhibit is accompanied by a sixty-two-page catalogue; curriculum guides for students in grades K-6 and 7-12; and a thirty-minute film, also called Faces and Voices of Refugee Youth, produced by KUED-TV, Utah’s PBS affiliate.

Curriculum Guides:
Faces and Voices of Refugee Youth Curriculum Guide for Secondary School Teachers and Counselors – PDF
Faces and Voices of Refugee YouthCurriculum Guide for Teachers and Counselors Graces K – 6 – PDF

Sacred Images: A Vision of Native American Rock Art

David Sucec instructing students at the Uintah River High School in Fort Duchesne.

Utah is internationally renowned for its national parks and their singular landscapes. Much less recognized are the state’s remarkable pictographs and petroglyphs, which convey the art of its pre-historic and historic native communities. Reaching back 8,000 years before the present, these remarkable images provide direct access to the sensibilities and histories of Utah’s first peoples and are among our nation’s oldest and most precious cultural artifacts.

Sacred Images: A Vision of Native American Rock Art brings together the visions of Utah wilderness photographers Craig Law, John Telford, and Tom Till; the insights of Utah artist and art historian David Sucec; and the storytelling skills of CDEA executive director Leslie Kelen who worked with Hopi, Paiute, Northern Ute, White Mesa Ute, and Northwest Shoshone people to convey the meaning and significance of Utah’s rock art.

The exhibit contains forty-five color photographs and extensive wall text and is accompanied by a 112-page catalogue, available through the Canyonlands Natural History Association; a curriculum guide for grades 1-4 and 9-12, accessible on the UEN website at http://www.uen.org/sacredimages/; and a thirty-minute film, produced by CDEA, that features four easy lessons for Utah art teachers wishing to use these images to inspire contemporary student art work.

Sacred Images—Artists-in-Residence Program

Mural in progress at Jordan High School in Sandy.

The Sacred Images—Artists-in Residence program offers intermediate, high school, and college-age students a unique opportunity to expand and enrich their educational experiences.

A month-long, four-part program, this residency is geared to introduce students to the remarkable pictographs and petroglyphs that function, in the words of Pulitzer Prize winning author N. Scott Momaday, as “the beginning of art in America and the origin of American Literature.”

CDEA’s program includes the following activities:

  • Placement of the award-winning Sacred Images exhibit at a participating school and description of Utah’s four major Utah rock art styles, provided by David Sucec, rock art historian;
  • Field trip to a local rock art site guided by David Sucec, rock art historian;
  • Master classes on storytelling and discussions of Native American oral tradition led by Dovie Thomason, a nationally recognized Native American storyteller; and
  • Mural painting with Lee Madrid or Ruby Chacón, Utah artists, who help participating students translate their project and personal experiences onto a mural-sized canvas.

The Sacred Images—Artists-in Residence program is a unique educational opportunity that ignites students’ imaginations; inspires connections between the far past and the present; connects history, storytelling, and visual art; and helps students bridge cultural differences.

Ceremonies: A Tale of Sister Cities

Ceremonies exhibit at the downtown Salt Lake City Library.

If we are going to take advantage of the assumption that all people want peace, then the problem is for people to get together and to leap governments—if necessary to evade governments—to work out not one method but thousands of methods by which people can gradually learn a little bit more of each other.” – President Dwight David Eisenhower

Ceremonies: A Tale of Sister Citiescelebrates fifty years of friendship between the people of Matsumoto, Japan and Salt Lake City, Utah. Comprised of many stories, the exhibit conveys this relationship through interviews, letters, journals, and memoirs. Photos in the display were pieced together from archives and scrapbooks in both cities. Most of the photos are snapshots, personal items never intended for public display. Their presence reflects the grassroots nature of the cultural interactions they capture and the importance of ceremony in American relationships with the Japanese.

Salt Lake’s sister city program developed from President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “People to People” initiative. Originating in the wake of World War Two and during the early years of the Cold War, this idea sought to affiliate international communities by encouraging “people to people” interactions at all levels of society. Leaders in Salt Lake City and Matsumoto embraced this concept and laid a foundation that allowed the affiliation to expand and sustain itself.

Developed by Ross Chambless, the exhibit introduces us to ordinary people who utilized relationships to repair the wounds of war. Exhibit panels are loosely based on movable Japanese shoji partitions, which are made with a layer of paper over a wood lattice screen. Shoji screens are traditionally used in Japanese homes to filter sunlight entering a room and to separate interior and exterior spaces. The exhibit comes with a curriculum guide for grades 4-12 (which can be accessed at the UEN webiste at http://www.uen.org/ceremonies/) as well as a content-rich, foldout brochure.

Ceremonies offers students a unique vehicle for the study of Japanese culture, the history of Japanese-Americans, American and Utah history, and reconciliation after violent conflict.

Reawakened Beauty: The Past, Present, and Future of the Jordan River 

Reawakened Beauty exhibit at the West Valley Cultural Celebration Center.

In densely populated Salt Lake County, it’s easy to forget that nature exists around and amongst us. This exhibit and its educational material are intended to heighten awareness of a portion of Utah’s landscape and its human and natural history. Specifically, the exhibit and catalogue provide an opportunity for students to derive a sense of place—or what it is like to more consciously inhabit a specific place—by knowing more about its ecology, history, and environmental challenges.

Reawakened Beauty: The Past, Present, and Future of the Jordan River is a photography exhibit displayed on nine mural-sized panels accompanied by didactic text that explores the past, present, and future of Utah’s Jordan River. Images and text are printed on fabric and displayed on three 14 ‘ wide by 7 ‘ high moveable panels. The exhibit uses images from photographer Tillman Cranes’ original thirty platinum print show at the Salt Lake Art Center and didactic text provided by ecologist Dr. Ty Harrison.

A thirty-page catalogue accompanies the exhibit. Designed by Julie Easton and Schaefer Design as an accordion book, one side of the catalogue contains Crane’s images of the river and celebrates his discovery of its complexity and beauty. The other side has a hand-drawn map of the entire 50-plus mile-long river; illustrations and eco-notes about animals, birds, and vegetation found on the river; and essays written by former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson and historian Dr. Justina Parson-Bernstein that together describe the river’s human and natural history and potential for restoration.

Overall, the exhibit introduces students to the river’s degradation and potential for restoration; the accompanying catalogue functions as a primer and guide to the river’s ecosystem and history, enabling students and teachers to more deeply and fully examine its degradation and restoration processes.

Reawakened Beauty: Artists/Scholars-in-Residence Program

In 2010, CDEA began developing a month-long scholar-and artists-in-residence program to accompany theReawakened Beauty exhibit. This program extends the school-based encounter with the exhibit and catalogue with field trips to the river guided first by an ecologist, then a photographer, and finally a writer. The ecologist-led trips inform students of the river’s human and natural history; the photographer follows-up and introduces students to the camera as a way to document, experience, and present the river; and the writer supports both previous activities by guiding students to explore and express their shifting awareness of the river and their relationship to it.

Overall, the scholar- and artists-in-residence program introduces students to the connection between science and history, science and art, ecology and art, ecology and themselves, and serves to heighten students’ awareness of the degradation of the Jordan River’s ecosystem, the recent successful efforts made to restore this ecosystem, and the role they can play in improving the river’s health.