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Students Exchange 'Couriers of Hope'

Four-hundred Long Beach Unified School District students participated in “Couriers of Hope,” an art exchange program inspired by the mail art movement of the 1960s. The program connected art students from Jordan, Lakewood, Millikan, Poly, Renaissance and Wilson high schools with 80 professional artists by prompting both groups to create illustrations using an envelope as the canvas.

For the program, LBUSD students viewed the Couriers of Hope Virtual Exhibition, which showcased the 160 pieces of original envelope art created by professional artists. Students were then asked to create their own envelope art, inspired by what brings them hope. Upon the exhibition's conclusion, the student artists had the opportunity to trade their art with a professional artist.

The “Couriers of Hope” program was organized by the Port City Creative Guild, an initiative by the non-profit arm of the multicultural agency Intertrend. The four-month process involved the help of 10 local art institutions that recruited the professional artists. In addition, the JAG Molina Family Foundation Fund and other donors sent more than 300 art kits to LBUSD high schools.

For some professional artists, their participation in the program came with hopes of inspiring students interested in pursuing an art career by exemplifying that it is possible to make a living as an artist.

“It is important for students to be able to imagine themselves in that world,” LBUSD Art Curriculum Leader Christine Whipp told the Los Angeles Times, echoing sentiment from professional artist Yoskay Yamamoto.

“For students who don’t have a family member or friends who are involved in the art world, this can be almost like a bridge that they can walk across to see what is possible,” Yamamoto told the Times.

Read the full story at LATimes.com. Search for the title, “How Long Beach students are turning mail into the most personal art.” 

Envelope art by student Julia Macias of Lakewood High School.