"Art students from Taylor High School, a member of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet), traveled to Paducah — a UNESCO Creative City of Crafts & Folk Art — for an immersive study tour March 20-22.

The UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) consists of more than 11,500 ASPnet member schools in 182 countries that operate in support of international understanding, peace, intercultural dialogue, sustainable development and quality education.

Paducah was designated a Creative City in November 2013. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is a forum for brainstorming the role of creativity as a driver and facilitator for sustainable development, and it recognizes that harnessing and cultivating creativity is essential to the prosperity of any city.

Marney Murphy, the district’s media specialist; and Sue Diemer, an art teacher at Taylor High School, envisioned that the creative learning experience would expose students to cultural richness and creative industries.

Educators collaborated with the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau to coordinate the tour, which included:

  • Hands-on creative experiences at Paducah School of Art & Design and collaborative learning with art students at Paducah Tilghman High School and McCracken County High School
  • Engagement with local artists and visiting resident artists including Kentucky cellist Ben Sollee, and Ma Mingkui and Ma Xinkai, artists from Jingdezhen, China, another UNESCO Creative City
  • Discovery of regional cultural attractions, including the National Quilt Museum, historic Paducah riverfront and “wall to wall” flood-wall murals.

After the trip, Diemer reflected on the experience.

“What an opportunity for the students who traveled to Paducah," she said. "We were immersed in three days of art-making, interacting with artists, hands-on collaboration with the local high schools’ art department students and teachers, as well as conversation with community members and both ceramicists and musicians from other UNESCO cities."

See the recap of this multi-day Paducah study tour!