An Ode to Textiles: Poetry and ArtFebruary 11 - March 3, 2024 Get tickets
The exhibition Stories of Syria’s Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two Millenia (on view at the Katonah Museum of Art from October 15, 2023 – January 28, 2024) featured coats, dresses, scarves, and fragments of ancient fabrics from Syria, illustrating how textiles can help us reflect upon our shared heritage and evoke memories and emotions. The artworks and poetry presented in The Pollack Family Learning Center were created in response to this exhibition as part of two community partnership programs.
Thinking Through the Arts
Students in second through fourth grades at Thomas Cornell Academy in Yonkers, New York visited the exhibition as part of the KMA's Thinking Through the Arts program. Working with KMA Writer in Residence Pamela Hart, the students then selected an artwork that held meaning for them and wrote about it, using the poetic form of the ode. They were asked to utilize “extravagant” language and to incorporate an important textile from their lives into their writing. The students also worked with KMA teaching artist Taeesha Muhammad to decorate canvas pouches, also on view, incorporating motifs of identity, community, and home.
Building Bridges: Prison Arts Initiative
Writers from the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, New York State’s only maximum-security prison for women, also reflected on the history and heritage of Syria’s textiles through their participation in the KMA’s Building Bridges program, offered in collaboration with Rehabilitation Through the Arts. The semester-long workshop series included creative writing exercises, close readings, and discussions of poetry, along with careful looking at selected artworks connected to the exhibition. Led by KMA Writer in Residence Pamela Hart, participants discussed and wrote poems informed by the ancient textiles and garments in the exhibition as well as textiles that held meaning in their own lives. The workshop culminated in a poetry reading at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Building Bridges: Prison Arts Initiative is a partnership between the Katonah Museum of Art and Rehabilitation Through the Arts, which for 25 years has brought arts education to six New York State correctional facilities.
Explore An Ode to Textiles: Poetry and Art
An anthology of poems created by writers from the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility as part of the KMA program, Building Bridges: Prison Arts Initiative.morelessBuilding Bridges: Prison Arts Initiative Poetry Anthology (PDF)
Thinking Through the Arts is made possible with support from Gail and Caesar Bryan, Rea Charitable Trust, the Thomas & Agnes Carvel Foundation, and the C. B. Sweatt Foundation.
Building Bridges: Prison Arts Initiative is supported by a Humanities New York Action Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.