Global Connections and Cross-Cultural Awareness: Cultivating Empathy in Elementary Students through an Expressive Art Exchange

By Gaelynn P. Wolf Bordonaro and Nancy Albrecht.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Recently, art therapist Dr. Wolf Bordonaro had the opportunity to work with the Sangha Foundation as a member of a team of professionals assembled to serve children in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India who had survived the December 2004 tsunami. In addition to providing trainings and assessments for children with disabilities, the team visited intermediate shelters hastily erected to house families who had lost their homes and lands to the tsunamis powerful waters. Nearly two years after the walls of water from tsunami ravaged Southeast Asia, the survivors continued to reassemble their lives.

After returning to the United States, Dr. Albrecht teamed with Dr. Wolf Bordonaro to present the international service work to elementary school children in Lawrence, Kansas. The authors facilitated a cross-cultural, art based interaction between the fifth graders in Lawrence and children in Port Blair, South Andaman Island. The unique project included the creation and exchange of art images and visual metaphors between the groups of children. The results demonstrated the impact of the art project in facilitating cross-cultural awareness, cultivating empathy, and developing global connections.

Keywords: Cross-Cultural Awareness, Cultivating Empathy, Art Therapy, Elementary Students, Developing Global Connections

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp.73-80. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.449MB).

Dr. Gaelynn P. Wolf Bordonaro

Associate Professor, Psychology and Art Therapy, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, USA

Dr. Gaelynn P. Wolf Bordonaro, ATR-BC is the Director of the Emporia State University Art Therapy Program, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, Art Therapy, Rehabilitation, and Mental Health Counseling. Passionate about international art therapy responses to natural disasters, pediatric medical art therapy, and therapeutic uses of photography, she has presented throughout the United States, England, Jamaica, India, the Islands of the Bahamas, Germany, South Africa, Thailand, South Africa, and Australia. Dr. Wolf Bordonaro is the Clinical Director of Communities Healing through Art (CHART), and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Art Therapy Association (AATA).

Dr. Nancy Albrecht

Associate Professor, School Leadership, Emporia State University, Lawrence, Kansas, USA

Nancy Albrecht is an associate professor in the department of School Leadership and past director of admissions for teacher education at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. She has been a high school principal and classroom teacher including teaching experience in Europe. Nancy has presented internationally, at national conferences, as well as state and local presentations. Her doctorate and masters degrees are both in educational leadership. She serves on a local Board of Education and works with teachers and students to improve student achievement. Areas of research include: Collaboration and Reflective Practice for Faculty Professional Development; Transformational Professional Development, Building Learning Communities, and Improving Teaching and Learning.

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