Below is the first in series of four blog posts about how an inspiration of the Intermediate class Art teacher, Heather Utter, manifested in the classroom. Or, in the case of the below story, out of the classroom.
“Cathedral to Learning,” is the theme to this year’s Intermediate Art class, based on the school-wide theme of Community. As the initial discussion regarding cathedrals began, the class realized that more than half of the students had never actually been to a cathedral! This prompted a special class field trip to the Presbyterian Church in downtown Portland.
During their visit, the class was awed by the huge vaulted ceilings, beautiful Douglas fir woodwork and the glittering multi-colored rose window full of symbols, including a dove, cross, and rose.
Cathedrals are built by communities of people: architects, sculptors, masons, stained glass workers, and many other contributors sometimes over hundreds of years. A cathedral is somewhere where people come together to grow, learn, and expand.
This seemed like a perfect topic for the Intermediate class to explore together. How could they create a cathedral to learning in their own classroom?
On the field trip and back in the classroom, the class discussed the iconography (the symbolic meaning) of the window, and what it would have meant for people hundreds and sometimes thousands of years ago to visit the great cathedrals of the world. What a sense of expansion and divinity they must have felt to experience those huge spaces and wondrous colored light!