The Butterfly Project is a program that educates community groups about the dangers of hatred, bigotry and indifference. Our hands-on programming is made up of educational lessons, film and art-based learning activities, and source materials that proactively address these sensitive issues. Appropriate for all ages, these lessons promote greater understanding of history and diversity while fostering community pride in a shared community space.
Personal Stories Make Compelling Programming
Our programing is designed to cultivate empathy and teach social responsibility in today’s world while enabling participants of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds to identify personally with those who lived during one of the darkest times in human history.
Learning From a Shared Experience
Participants gain a profound understanding of how prejudice, racism, bullying and stereotyping can lead to systemic injustices over time. When individuals share a common artistic journey, as in this program, collective responsibility can be gained, helping the community to more effectively stand up to injustice, hatred and racism.
Teaching Participants to be Upstanders
Through our interactive lessons, which include oral history, film, literature and hands-on art making, participants go through a shared learning experience that fosters collaboration and connection within the community, promotes collective responsibility, and teaches community members to more effectively stand up to injustice, hatred and racism.
The Butterfly Project’s lessons draw parallels between personal stories from the Holocaust and present day systemic issues. Through our flexible educational and arts-driven programming, participants paint ceramic butterflies together and learn from primary source educational materials such as rare artifacts, stories, art, photographs, diaries and biographies of children who perished in the Holocaust. Participants also work together to create a meaningful community art installation that fosters ongoing conversations about diversity, inclusion and justice.
Our programming is intergenerational and appropriate for ages 10 years old through adulthood, and all lessons can be modified based on time constraints. We are able to offer modified versions of our lessons for participants 9 years old and younger.
The Butterfly Project is suitable for most community organizations.
The Power of Each Painted Butterfly
Each participant has the chance to make a personal connection to the child on their biography card as they paint their own personal butterfly in memory of that child.
The powerful symbolism of each painted butterfly then getting fired in a kiln to emerge renewed, glazed and shiny, ready for display is remarkably impactful for both participants and the entire community.
Dynamic Works of Art
Our powerful programming culminates with the creation of the installation in your community. This dynamic work of art is created at your site to foster conversations about diversity, inclusion and justice today.
The art-making and displays are a tangible way to link the stories to be remembered, and serve as a visual reminder for the learner to be an empowered new voice for justice today.
Our programming provides teachers with a gentle yet profound way to bring hope and beauty to their students’ Holocaust education and help make these lessons from history relevant to today’s world.
The Butterfly Project’s programming includes the following lessons and activities:
Benefits of Bringing The Butterfly Project to Your Community
Increase your community’s understanding about the lessons learned from the Holocaust and help your community members more effectively stand up to injustice, hatred and racism. .
- Engage community members in meaningful activities, including hearing oral histories, exploring identity and creating a ceramic butterfly as part of a community art and memorial making effort.
- The art creates an engaging space for important dialogue about the importance of history and standing together against injustice.
- Teaches participants empathy, social responsibility, and the power of each person to become upstanders for justice.