Assemblage of Memory – A Service Learning Project

memory-groveBy Val Woldman

In March, 28 of my humanities students visited the Gardens at DePugh Nursing Center in Winter Park and began the first step in a month-long collaborative art project.

The students interviewed 10 residents about their favorite memories. As a result of those interviews, students chose one or two images that emerged from each of the conversations. Alone or in groups, students sketched those images then pasted them on large puzzle pieces. Finally, the class assembled the pieces into one unified work of art, titled “Assemblage of Memory,” and presented the finished piece to the residents, where it brightens a formerly empty wall.

During the assembly process, students worked together to coordinate and contrast colors and images. In the lower right corner of the canvas, for example, a red circle from an apple-themed piece fits seamlessly into the sun on the seascape piece below. Just like human memory, some pieces are hooked smoothly together, while others overlap or have rough edges that show visible gaps. Only by stepping back and viewing the big picture is one able to see a coherent pattern in the seemingly random fragments of memory.

Special thanks to Barbara Chandler, Greg Hovey, Tammy Chandler, and Michele McArdle, for connecting the community, requesting colorful art, coordinating the interviews, and allocating resources.


  • Rachel Allen said:

    What an awesome project and idea. Thank you for sharing this with us,

    PMThu, 02 May 2013 17:32:17 +0000Thu, 02 May 2013 17:32:17 +0000pm13,5:32 pm

  • Robyn Brighton said:

    What a memorable experience for your students. Bravo Val!!

    PMThu, 02 May 2013 20:01:22 +0000Thu, 02 May 2013 20:01:22 +0000pm13,8:01 pm

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