At Calvin Vincent Early Childhood Center in Texas City they are teaching diversity through art. Take a piece of glass with a thumbprint for example. Not only does that print get you into your cell phone, it represents you as a unique individual.
“You see the thumbprints, it's like a big quilt, everyone has their own shape, their own form, and we are part of this society,” says Edwin Gil.
Gil is an artist originally from Colombia. He uses unwanted, shattered glass to create new works of art.
For him, the art form is a reflection of his own life by taking the broken pieces and creating something beautiful.
“Since I was a child, passing through all these moments, art always was kind of the way I would communicate the feelings of how I feel about this moment that I was passing through,” Gil says.
If you take a brief glimpse into his life you see his father was an alcoholic. He had to work starting at the age of 4. At 15 he was homeless and abused. In the late 90s he escaped all that by coming to the U.S.
“With no English, no money, knowing anybody,” he recalls.
However, he had his art. Decades later, he’s in Texas City to continue “Faces of Diversity." It’s a series of glass mosaics he’s installing across the country to inspire those sometimes difficult conversations.
“Art is an amazing tool to communicate things that normally as humans we wouldn't do,” says Edwin.
“They love it. They love it,” says Troconis.
Troconis is one of the bilingual pre-K teachers at Calvin Vincent. It was her grant proposal that brought Gil and his project to the school along with his message of diversity and acceptance.
“They are just pre-K kids and if we create this foundation where they respect each other the way they are and for the future when they get into high school I think they will accept more of the difference,” says Troconis.
“Doesn't matter what color, what language, what color your hair or if you have accent as I do, you are part of the same group, humans,” says Gil.
There’s one more positive message Gil tries to instill in the young kids at Calvin Vincent: “Right now, you are like the caterpillar… at one point you are going to be a butterfly and you are going to fly.”
The glass mosaic will be completed this Friday at which point it will find its permanent home on what is currently a blank wall in the school’s entryway. Joining it will be nearly 300 paper butterflies, representing the uniqueness of each student at the school.
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