Art and Design Seniors Paired with Children on Philadelphia Neighborhood Artwork

By Purnell T. Cropper | May 4, 2010

Art and Design seniors Ashley Cooksley, an Interior Design major, and Amie Zimmerman, a Scientific Illustration major, worked with David Copestakes, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, on an event called “This is My Philly,” hosted by AIGA Philadelphia and Phillyspells at Moore College of Art and Design on Saturday, April 10.

“This is My Philly” paired college students with children from the neighborhoods of Philadelphia and asked them to write poems and design posters about their neighborhoods.

“I have a huge background in art education with kids,” says Zimmerman on Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhood site. “I started as a lifeguard and because of that I became a swim instructor. I was in art, so then I was an arts and crafts teacher. I teach drawing workshops at theh Mutter Museum.”

Reporter Steve Ciccarelli describes the scene: “As Zimmerman speaks, her partner for the day, Phoebe, stands in the corner with the other participants searching for pictures to put on her collage. The children look at magazines one second, and turn around for snacks at the next.”

“Her favorite thing is shoes,” says Zimmerman. “So we’ve been writing about the shoe store and her favorite restaurant, stuff like that.”

Ciccarelli notes that Spells, which organizes the ongoing program, “began at a critical time in Philadelphia education. While the national average of adults lacking basic literacy skills hovers at 14.5 percent, the most recent number for Philadelphia is almost eight full points higher at 22 percent.”