RED WING -- Wing Young Huie, a celebrated Minneapolis-based photographer and author whose creative work has featured an exploration of the cultural self, race, neighborhood, class and socioeconomic background, is part of a year-long residency at Red Wing Public Schools and the new required eighth-grade Perspectives class.

In September, Red Wing Arts brought Huie to Red Wing Public Schools to conduct dialogues with the students, as well as to lead a districtwide staff development workshop.

As part of his residency, Huie presents a two-part curriculum during Perspectives. First, he displays culturally loaded photographs that are open to interpretation. He asks students to think about what they see. He subsequently reveals e

Wing Young Huie
Wing Young Huie
ach photograph’s backstory that complicated and challenged the class participants’ initial perceptions.

The purpose of the presentation is to address how mass-culture images shape points of view and to prepare students for “chalk talk.”

Chalk talk is a process now used in many classrooms in which students pair up with someone in the room they don’t know well and have a conversation prompted with open-ended questions such as, “What are you? What do you want to be? How will you get there? How do you think others see you? What don’t they see? What challenges have you faced? What advice do you have for others?”

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This intimate conversation connects people in real ways, getting them out of their cultural bubbles by challenging preconceptions of the other and one’s self, he says. After their conversation they write something that expresses their authentic selves and perspectives. Then they photograph each other with the goal of creating an image that gives meaning to what was written. Students are invited to write their response on black construction paper with chalk. The responses and students are then photographed.

Ryan Korby is the eighth-grade Perspectives teacher at Red Wing High School. He said of the first quarter class:

“Wing Huie had a tremendous impact during his time in our Perspectives class. He pushed students to think deeply about themselves and with whom they share the world. I am grateful for his expertise and adaptability. Just like the students and teachers, Wing adjusted to a new learning experience and environment. His lessons resonated with students both online and in person. I can’t wait for his return next quarter.”

The Perspectives course is new to Red Wing Public Schools in the 2020-2021 school year, partially in response to race-related events this past summer. As students come into high school, social-emotional skills and learning how to interact with one another are very important, according to Superintendent Karsten Anderson.

“Our best chance for meaningful change will come from children. We are beginning to rework our practices to reach children in different ways, including mentorships, course and curriculum changes and art. We need to understand ourselves and each other. Wing’s artist residency helps our eighth graders do that," Anderson said.

These skills will benefit students not only throughout their high school career but into adulthood. The class also explores where all students come from and how that influences how they see the world. This course includes community volunteers, outside resources and specialized curriculum that asks students to discover their town, their culture and themselves – their perspectives.

Community engagement

Work by Huie and the first-quarter eighth-grade Perspective students can be seen by Red Wing residents. From now until Sunday, Nov. 15 chalk talk photographs will be on display in storefront windows throughout downtown.

A community discussion titled "We Are The Stranger: What do you see" will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, via zoom. The link can be found on the Red Wing Arts Facebook page and website.

Along with community partners – such as Red Wing Youth Outreach, Hispanic Outreach of Goodhue County and Prairie Island Indian Community -- Red Wing Arts worked with teachers to design the curriculum. Additional grant support was provided by the Red Wing Public School Foundation and Duff Endowment.