Philadelphia University was part of a collaborative project to help students at nearby Thomas Mifflin Elementary School design and make a “peace quilt” focusing on non-violent ways to resolve conflicts.
The quilt was unveiled at a May 9 ceremony at the Mifflin school, a few blocks from the PhilaU campus, with songs and uplifting stories from students who worked on the project and adults that helped them throughout the spring. The quilt will remain on display in the Mifflin School’s front entrance.
Wendelyn Anderson, textile design technical associate, spearheaded the PhilaU effort. PhilaU students helped her scan and arrange the Mifflin students’ artwork and digitally print the quilt on campus. The PhilaU volunteers also helped the Mifflin students make hand-printed pillows and banners so they would have something they could keep themselves from the experience.
“We wanted to give these students the experience of taking an idea and translating it into a visual image,” Anderson said. The Mifflin students also visited PhilaU May 8 to learn about various programs, tour the design facilities and hear from students in a range of disciplines.
Other groups working on the project included Physicians for Social Responsibility, East Falls Community Council and Public Citizens for Children and Youth, which provided a grant for the project, which is designed to help students learn conflict resolution skills by expressing thoughts and feelings with visual images.
In preparation for making the quilt, the Mifflin students spent several months learning about violence prevention from members of the Peaceful Posse, a Philadelphia mentoring program. As part of the Peaceful Posse curriculum, Mifflin students learned anti-bullying and anti-violence strategies, such as dealing with anger in a healthy way and understanding different points of view.
Working on the quilt project “gave me the opportunity to see first-hand not just how much public schools are struggling to keep art alive in their programs but also what I, and other community and professional volunteers, can do to support their efforts,” Anderson said.