Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Arts Highlight International Women's Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Arts Highlight International Women's Day

Article excerpt

Byline: SUSAN D. BRANDENBURG, River City News correspondent

Twelve-year-old Hanson Goeso of Liberia came to the United States with his family a year ago. He was one of about 40 children, ranging in age from 3 to 15, who recently attended the fifth annual International Women's Day celebration, sponsored by the Women's Center of Jacksonville.

While their mothers, most of them arrayed in native costumes and hailing from countries around the globe, enjoyed the festivities in the main hall of the Fraternal Order of Police Building on Beach Boulevard, the children gathered in the back room for a special art project inspired by the books of Eric Carle.

Referencing Carle's children's books and aided by several Bishop Kenny High School Art Club honor students, Bishop Kenny High art teacher Christie Thompson Holochek and Paula Lynn of the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, the children created colorful collages of birds, reptiles, flowers and people.

"I feel fortunate to be teaching young children about the arts and exposing them to creative ideas," said Bishop Kenny junior Argeline Mitra, vice president of the school's art club.

Exploring his own creativity, young Hanson Goeso added words to his artwork, writing a short story titled "A Good Man," about the importance of sharing food and giving thanks.

"I want to be a writer," he said, "and in this country, I can be anything I want to be."

For Hanson's mother and many of the women participating in this year's International Women's Day, his simple story and hopeful words reflect the new freedom they've found in the United States.

In a touching description of her life in the Sudan prior to coming to America in May 2003 through Lutheran Social Services, Regina Alio talked of male dominance in her native land.

"Sudanese women do not have freedom like American women," she said. "In Sudan, women cannot do anything if their husband wants to beat them. If the police are called, they will tell you to listen to your husband."

A former elementary school teacher in the Sudan, Alio attends Florida Community College at Jacksonville's South Campus, taking English as a second language and aiming at a degree in business education. …

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