A complex collage, with images of eyes and fire.
A face, peeking through massive, brightly-colored flowers.
These are just some of the images of children’s art gracing the pages of the Brooklyn Friends School 2019-20 calendar. Accompanying each image is an adjective, followed by a quote such as this one from Isaac Pennington, an early Friend and ardent defender of the Quaker tradition: Compassionate – “Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another…and helping one another.” Or one from former First Lady Michelle Obama, accompanying a powerful image of a female face: Virtuous –“My mother’s love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, her intelligence reflected in my daughters.”
“We seek to have consistency between our values and our actions, to live according to the deepest truth we know, reflecting the Light within us and to speak the truth; we know that our understanding of the truth at any moment is incomplete, and we are open to new ideas, new paths, and new solutions.”
Indeed, the words are all the more powerful, when paired with the vibrant images of student art.
According to committee member Andrew Cohen, it’s all about connection. “The BFS annual calendar is designed with the intention of connecting and involving the families and colleagues with our shared Quaker values. Even the process of creating the calendar comes from this intention. First, BFS colleagues are surveyed about what will be the testimony of the year. Next, the All-School Quaker Life Committee selects words that speak to that testimony. Quotes are collected that speak to these words and finally, [Director of Communications] Joan Martin finds student-made artwork to enhance and reflect the words and quotes.”
“Ultimately, it’s like putting a beautiful puzzle together because you’re pulling out the art and piecing in a word and quote and you want them all to interconnect,” said Joan. An added challenge, she observed, is choosing from the abundance of art works created by the students and representing work from all school divisions, from preschool through high school.
Still another goal in creating the calendar is to highlight the many art mediums in which BFS students create, among them mixed media, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics, collage and woodwork., “I could easily select one piece of exquisite art in a different medium for every month,” said Joan. “But I just can’t.” She continued, ” I think it’s important to share as much of the outstanding work of our students as we are able to. As a result, what could have been a calendar of 14 student art works now has 38 pieces!”
Perhaps the back of the calendar says it all: Integrity –“Through this calendar, the All- School Quaker Life Committee hopes to inspire all community members to support one another with integrity and to share kindness, patience, and wisdom with each other.”