Images of September Eleven: The Images of September 11 Remind Me, as a Teacher of Art Teachers, of the Essential Role Our Work Plays in the Development of Children

By Kent, Lori | School Arts, May 2002 | Go to article overview

Images of September Eleven: The Images of September 11 Remind Me, as a Teacher of Art Teachers, of the Essential Role Our Work Plays in the Development of Children


Kent, Lori, School Arts


Art-making serves many functions in our individual and collective lives. For children living in downtown New York, the events of September 11, 2001, were horrific and unprecedented.

One result of the tragedy was an outpouring of images. Ten days after the event, I recorded the artwork of students, aged 4-7, and listened to their teacher's stories of how their lives were affected.

New Yorkers, in general, take in so much information through their eyes. Think of Times Square and the barrage of neon, gigantic advertisements, kinetic signs and NASDAQ's architecture as video screen. After the terrorist attack, New York City became visual in a more intimate sense. There were postings of the faces of the missing in many public areas, in the grocery stores, subways, parks, and fire and police stations. One could see the pictures of human tragedy.

For the rest of the country, the images were primarily the acts of destruction. Through repeated viewings, our visual consciousness absorbed the destruction of one tower, then another, the fireball and smoke. People were running, screaming, and jumping. The destruction played over and over before our eyes and the eyes of our children. …

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