Listening to the Wall: Part 1


In Reconstructing the Lennon Wall, I shared the story of a wall in my classroom that has become a strong tradition of young adults using their voices for something positive.  The wall was created to reflect the spirit of the real Lennon Wall in Prague and over the years it has become a symbol optimism and community.

The idea of recreating a wall of peace quickly evolved into a lesson about freedom of expression and leaving a legacy that hopes for a better future.  Young adults are often classified as rebellious, defiant, hormonal, and aggravating, which they can sometimes be, but who isn’t at one time or another?  They have much more to say the most people think and are far more optimistic than they are given credit.  The voice of a teenager is honest, energetic, and full of promise.  Even those who have had a rough start in life or feel oppressed come to life when given the chance to speak.

I believe in both the Lennon Wall and the voices of my students, which is why I am inspired to share the messages they’ve left behind.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting images of Lennon Wall pieces created by my former students.  It is my hope that their artwork will continue to be a powerful reminder of how beautiful the human voice can be.

This week, I selected some pieces that focus on portraying faces.  Two are literal, while the third attempts to shed light on a group of people fighting for equal rights.

Many students have created portraits of John Lennon, but this one is among my favorites.  It came from a student who sat in the back of the room and loved to express herself with color.  She was very quiet, but her creativity and spirit are quite vibrant!

A student drawing of John Lennon, the core inspiration of the Lennon Wall.

This portrait of Bob Marley was done a by a student who had a deep passion for his music.  Her enthusiasm is quite obvious in her bold drawing!  She created the piece using colored pencils, which is pretty remarkable given the solid texture.  While the silhouette is eye catching, I can’t help but be drawn to the quote she selected.

Bob Marley through the eyes of a talented young adult.

Two students worked together to create a moving message in support of a friend who endured a steady stream of bullying throughout the year.   The pieces fit together to promote unity among all people, regardless of orientation.  Wherever you stand on the issue, it is amazing to see fifteen-year-olds respond in such a powerful way.

Two students express their opinion on the importance of equality.

– – –

c.b.w. 2012


42 thoughts on “Listening to the Wall: Part 1

  1. I am always reminded of how gifted kids are when I go to a talent show or walk into an art room. And so often these “pieces” would never be judged as worthy by some art critic. Because the kids haven’t studied art at college? I wonder how often formal training curbs the Muse and give the critic a permanent chair on stage, front and center. I’d take what kids create any day-it is raw, real, unpretentious-over what is hung in museums or most art galleries.


  2. just brilliant! all three are wonders…john, not so much for his portraiture, but the collage background with the imagine quotes. marley, because you can feel her love within his smile even though this is a common silk screen image. oh, and the anime, what a treasure of words to art…a future graphic novel? what a joy to be a teacher ~


    • I have so many more amazing pieces and I can’t wait to share them. 🙂

      The students responsible for creating the anime, actually did work on a number of anime comic strips. I won’t be surprised a to see their work in print on a bookstore shelf in the next few years, (they are in college now).


    • It’s fun to watch them grow as creative thinkers. I may teach World History, but ultimately my goal is to help students realize and believe in their ability to think for themselves. Yet another function of the Lennon Wall to give them a place to display all they’ve accomplished in that regard.


  3. Oh, CB – how wonderful. I cannot wait to see more. Today especially it helps my heart to see the love and hope and caring expressed by your students. Thanks you for giving them a place where it is safe for their hearts to be open and tender, and known. Like the above commenter, I wish you had been my teacher.


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