Inspired by the hands-on teaching approach of The Butterfly Project, the SC Governor’s School of Arts and Humanities has installed three mosaics to honor those impacted by the Holocaust tragedy.
Enthusiasm for the mosaics project struck after students watched “NOT the Last Butterfly,” in their Humanities class. This documentary introduced students to the global Butterfly Project, an organization that teaches about the Holocaust via the creation of ceramic butterflies.
During the 2021-2022 school year, students across the Upstate painted nearly 7,000 ceramic butterflies as part of The Butterfly Project to represent children lost during the Holocaust. This innovative outreach and education program was initiated locally by the Greenville Jewish Federation with support from Southern NCSY to bring the impactful lessons of the Holocaust to life.
Governor’s School ceramics teacher Elaine Quave worked to kiln fire the school’s 200 plus butterflies and more than half of all the butterflies that were created by Upstate students. Ben Gilliam, of the Visual Arts faculty, worked with Quave to plan and design a permanent installation of three large butterfly mosaics made up of the original small butterflies created for The Butterfly Project. They now hang in the main hallway of the school’s academic building, a prime educational space for the installation.
“The butterfly mosaic will be engaging for our school community and for the many visitors who tour our campus,” said Dr. Jennifer Thomas, dean and vice president of arts and academics at the Governor’s School. “In the project’s next phase, we plan to seek grant support for signage and to create an interactive educational station that will provide context along with links to images and resources.”
A special dedication ceremony was held at the Governor’s School during family weekend in late September 2023, and was done in concert with the support of The Greenville Jewish Federation.
“The Butterfly Project is part of the greater initiative in our community to educate about the Holocaust,” said Courtney Tessler, CEO of The Greenville Jewish Federation. “This interactive educational project gently shifts the participant’s focus to messages of compassion, tolerance, understanding, and hope through the creation of individual and collective art. Each installation represents only a fraction of the young lives lost, and through these ceramic butterflies, displayed as symbols of resilience and hope, project participants and guests recognize and remember the 1.5 million children killed during the Holocaust.”
About The Butterfly Project
Founded in 2006 by educator Jan Landau and artist Cheryl Rattner Price, The Butterfly Project originated at the San Diego Jewish Academy. Word spread about this impactful education, and the project expanded into schools and communities of every faith and background. Learn more at thebutterflyprojectnow.org.
About the Greenville Jewish Federation
The Greenville Jewish Federation is a dynamic organization dedicated to serving and strengthening the Jewish community in Greenville and neighboring counties. With a rich philanthropy and community-building history, the Federation works tirelessly to support educational programs, social services, cultural events, and advocacy efforts that promote Jewish values, heritage, and unity. To learn more about the Greenville Jewish Federation’s initiatives and upcoming programs, visit www.jewishgreenville.org.
About SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities
Located in Greenville, the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities cultivates young artists from across the state through pre-professional training in the areas of creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. In the public residential high school, students refine their talents in an arts-centered community while receiving a nationally recognized academic education. Summer programs are available to rising 7th-12th grade students. The Governor’s School serves as a resource to all teachers and students in South Carolina, offering comprehensive outreach programs designed to bring together artists, educators, community organizations and schools. SCGSAH.org.