'Through Their Eyes'

Alexandra Carson’s “Through Their Eyes: A Glimpse into Jane Elliott’s Classroom” has been named a winner in the Lowell Milken Center’s Art- Effect Project competition. COURTESY | LOWELL MILKEN CENTER

FORT SCOTT, Kan. — A Joplin student has been named one of 11 winners of the sixth annual Art- Effect Project, an international art competition for middle and high school students hosted by the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes. The contest challenges students to honor unsung heroes through art.

Alexandra Carson, a ninth grade student at Joplin High School, won one of four $500 Certificate of Excellence Awards for her mixed-media work “Through Their Eyes: A Glimpse into Jane Elliott’s Classroom.” Her teacher is Heather Van Otterloo.

Carson’s piece honors Jane Elliott, a schoolteacher in a predominantly white rural Iowa town who gained national fame for her “Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes” assignment in her third-grade classroom. Shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and in an effort to help her pupils understand the toxic effects of racism, Elliott used collars to separate her students by eye color and awarded special privileges to one of the groups. Afterward, the children discussed the discrimination they had experienced during the exercise.

Carson and the other 10 award- winning students will have their artwork displayed virtually on the Lowell Milken Center’s website, lowellmilkencenter.org, and physically in the center’s Hall of Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, 1 S. Main St.

“ArtEffect winners show visionary thinking and creative skills of a superior nature,” said Norm Conard, executive director of the Lowell Milken Center, in a statement. “We at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes salute excellence and the active imagination of our student champions.”

The ArtEffect judging panel consisted of Lowell Milken executive leadership and notable figures in the art design world, including professionals from ArtCenter College of Design, California Institute of the Arts, Scripps College and Pomona College.

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Emily Younker is the managing editor at the Joplin Globe. Contact: eyounker AT joplinglobe DOT com.