Dr. Meredith St. Clair, Program Administrator
Boise Public Schools
Inspired by Ezra Jack Keats illustrations, street graffiti and Japanese haiku, boys and girls at the Juvenile Detention Center in Boise, Idaho, used all these elements to create deeply personal cityscapes. During the art project, the students pronounced Keats one of the first graffiti writers.
Led by the librarian and an art teacher from Hillside Junior High, the students at the Center browsed through Keats’s books and discussed inner city life, communities and families. They were interested in the variety of characters and the graffiti. Just as Ezra celebrated cultural diversity, the students incorporated Japanese-style haiku into their cityscapes. (They didn’t know that Keats had actually illustrated a volume of haiku, In a Spring Garden.)