Taking “To the Letter” to the Classroom

Art Gallery and Education Center, Youth

by Hilary Shea

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the gallery at Mayyim Hayyim with my Hebrew school class. The class has students in second through seventh grades. I had read about the exhibit, To the Letter: Aleph – Z, and I reached out to Mayyim Hayyim about setting up a visit. 

As a class, we have been studying the Alef Bet and how there are so often multiple meanings and interpretations of texts, making the content of the exhibit a great fit. In addition, I always work to integrate art into my teaching.

The students and I enjoyed the visit greatly. They were very interested in Ariel Burger’s style, specifically how he superimposed images on top of text and used the meaning of the text to inform the content of the art. In addition, some students were really taken with the artist moving from a very accurate representation of the letter Alef to one that was far more creative.  

It wasn’t until a week later, when we were back together as a class, and I gave students blank paper and multiple types of paints with only the instructions to “create your own art inspired by what you saw at the gallery last week,” that I realized how much they had internalized.

Hilary Shea runs a Hebrew School in Cambridge. 

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