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UW Lab School Plans Africa Event Thursday

April 29, 2014
Smiling child
A student in the International Center for Art and Music at Ouidah program in Benin, West Africa, was photographed during a trip by University of Wyoming Lab School and UW College of Education faculty members.

University of Wyoming Lab School students and teachers invite the public to experience their interpretations of African culture during an evening celebration Thursday, May 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the UW College of Education auditorium.

The program will feature presentations of traditional West African music and artwork by Lab School students, from kindergarten through middle school.

Art teacher Sharon Mathiesen and music teacher Jennifer Mellizo organized the event as a way to share their January 2014 study-abroad experience to Benin, West Africa, with their students. UW College of Education faculty member Lydia Dambekalns led the trip, as an extension of her ongoing research and service in that country.

Music students will perform traditional African dances and music. Art students will display Kente cloth prints and Benin headdresses made during the school year. A film displaying images from the study-abroad trip also will be shown.

The study-abroad trip was a three-credit course offered through the College of Education and the UW Outreach School. Participants explored villages and historic sites in the small country of Benin. They followed the same route taken by slaves during the slave trade to the city of Ouidah, recognized as the birthplace of voodoo.

Additionally, they explored traditional music, dance, songs, visual art and French through daily classes at the International Center for Art and Music at Ouidah (CIAMO). Interaction with students and staff members at CIAMO were highlights of the trip.

Proceeds from a silent auction Thursday night will support the CIAMO Good Will Ambassador Project.

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