International Studies & Programs

#

Michigan Students Exchange "Visual Letters" with Youth in China

Back to News

Published: Tuesday, 31 May 2022 Author: Global Youth Advancement Network

Room full of art work by Michigan students
Selection process in MSU International Center

On Monday, May 16, 2022, Michigan State University’s Global Youth Advancement Network (GYAN) participated in MSU Extension’s selection process for their 4-H China Art Exchange Project at the MSU International Center. Janis Brinn, MSU Extension Educator; Luna Lu, GYAN Senior Innovation Officer; and Hibah Siddiqui, GYAN student intern, spent the afternoon sorting through a roomful of “visual letters” created by Michigan students to send to youth in China.

Hundreds of Michigan kindergarten through sixth-grade students representing ten different counties submitted original art creations in the 2022 Michigan 4-H Art Exchange project with China. Of those pieces, GYAN and MSU Extension committee members winnowed down submissions to one hundred original works of art that will be sent to schools in China. As part of the art exchange, Michigan children are asked to paint or draw “visual letters” for children in China their own ages. A visual letter is like a written letter in that both tell stories, share important ideas and feelings, and connect young people across continents and cultures. However, the medium is different from written letters in that visual letters use images in place of words to overcome language barriers.

A visual letter is like a written letter in that both tell stories, share important ideas and feelings, and connect young people across continents and cultures...visual letters use images in place of words
Art Submissions
Art Submissions from Michigan Students

GYAN was pleased to collaborate on this youth-positive educational program. This art exchange allows children from both countries to gain a better understanding of each other’s everyday life and discover the many similarities between them - and helps Michigan students learn about China through their peers' art to promote cultural appreciation and awareness. Upon receiving the Michigan children’s artwork, the pieces will be exhibited in schools in China’s Shandong Province. The artwork will also be featured on the MSU Extension 4-H China Project website.

For more information about the 4-H China Project and other 4-H programs, contact Janis Brinn, MSU Extension Youth Leadership, Civic and Cultural Engagement Educator at brinn(at)msu.edu or call the MSU Extension Office at 269-673-0370 Ext 2555.