A Sensory Tour of Lebanon

Last Thursday night a culminating exhibit of the campers’ experience in Art, Poetry, and Science classes transported families and community members from the auditorium in Springside School to Lebanon, the focus of Camp this summer. The campers’ creations in these classes filled the walls of the auditorium, demonstrating their creativity and the rich cultural heritage of this small but diverse country.

As the books of Dar Onboz and the geography of Lebanon informed the trajectory of Art Class this summer, a display of books from this Lebanese publishing house was available for browsing. The books are very visually stimulating—communicating the story line not just through text but also through images, including many collages. Campers made their own materials for collage making while exploring of the six elements of drawing: line, texture, space, value, shape, and color. With these materials they created individual collages while also working on a collaborative collage project depicting the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet.

The varied geography of Lebanon also served as an inspiration for projects in Art Class. Groups Alif and Ba’ used drawing, printmaking, and tissue paper to depict the Lebanon’s mountains, iconic cedar trees, and Mediterranean coastline. This same landscape informed the many poems that campers wrote in Poetry Class.

Groups Alif, Ba’, and Ta’ wrote poems in response to both texts from Dar Onboz and what they learned about the Lebanese agricultural economy and the Civil War, which poetry teacher, Eric Hitchner then assembled in an anthology. Integrating what they learned in Poetry and Art Classes, campers filled 10 feet long scrolls, which hung around the auditorium, with their poems and Arabic letters cut from the materials that they made in Art Class.

Not only did the campers’ work stimulate the visual senses but the scent of orange blossom water and lavender floated through the auditorium. Following the technique practiced in Lebanon of making soap from the country’s abundance of olives, campers made orange blossom and lavender scented soap with science teacher Mary Walsh.

The campers beautifully captured the varied landscape of this country in their art and poetry and their soap serves as a tangible reminder of one of the country’s traditions. The campers’ art, poetry, and soap will act as souvenirs from their cultural visit to Lebanon during this year’s camp.

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