UMFA hosts Middle East workshop

By Dan Treasure, Staff Writer

The U hosted a workshop about Middle Easter bazaars Saturday to provide teachers with tips about how to incorporate Middle Eastern culture into the classroom.

The workshop began with a presentation on social life and consumer culture at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. After a video depicting Middle Eastern culture, visitors had the opportunity to attend their choice of three one-hour presentations.

The presentations included a hands-on art project, Bazaars Box introduction and a gallery stroll.

The workshop presentations were intended to be an educational tool for teachers on how to bring Middle Eastern culture into their classrooms.

The art project that Barbara Petzen, director of education at the Middle East Policy Council, taught guests was how to create their own Middle Eastern pieces of art.

Deborah Dilley, outreach assistant for the Middle East Center, presented a lecture “Modern Monuments of the Middle East” and included a PowerPoint on some of the high points of life in the Middle East. She discussed the Industrial Revolution, effects of temperature on life and architecture, the world-renowned Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and numerous other topics.

Dilley said the Middle East Center exists to provide lectures and cultural programs for schools in Utah and to coordinate workshops that train teachers to incorporate knowledge of Middle Eastern culture into all grade levels.

The final presentation was a walk-through of the Bazaars Box, a storage container holding original household items, works of art and utility items from the Middle East, along with lesson plans, maps and DVDs about life there.

The box is available to all teachers and focuses on five cities: Tehran, Iran; Jerusalem; Cairo, Egypt; Mecca, Saudi Arabia; and Istanbul, Turkey. Visitors donned white gloves and were able to handle the items in the box, which included calligraphy pieces of art, jasper prayer beads, glass-blown perfume bottles and other items.

Virginia Catherall, a curator for the museum, said the aim of the Bazaar Box is to teach students about Middle Eastern culture using objects. She said the box and other teaching tools are a great way to give another perspective on a rarely experienced culture.

Jenny Woods, campus outreach coordinator for UMFA, said the museum has many civilization-themed exhibits. She said the museum is working on setting up a full Middle Eastern exhibit.

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John Stafford

Barbara Petzen, Educational Director Middle East policy council, helps Deanna Kerr with painting techniques and Arabic lettering on candleholders during the bazaar on Saturday.