I am excited to start a new art residency Follow the Drinking Gourd Music Map Murals this winter. It's made possible with a grant through the DC Education Fund. This program was originally designed by Little Lights Arts and was conducted with a large group of elementary school students in New York City. Music educator Maya Cunningham has brought the program to D.C. I am pleased that Ms. Cunningham and I will lead 2nd and 3rd grade students at Nalle Elementary school to create eight large-scale cut-paper mosaic panels.
Each panel will correspond to a verse in the Follow the Drinking Gourd song, which was used by enslaved African Americans as a ‘code song’ to be sung while working in the fields. The lyrics contained important information on how to escape from slavery including the season to leave (Spring), and which rivers and trees to use as northward guides, as well as how to use the Polaris constellation (called the Drinking Gourd for its shape) as a starry map toward the north and freedom.