Waynesville, Mo. – Three school districts around the Ozarks and Kansas City joined forces in a unique initiative to connect students from rural and urban schools and share their culture through art and food.

 The project began in the spring of 2022 and collected recipes, stories, and artwork from students at Lebanon, Waynesville, and Northeast Kansas City High School. The goal was to build relationships and increase empathy, and awareness of their everyday and diverse experiences. 

“I learned that despite how rural kind of an area we’re in, there are so many different cultures and stuff, it’s like surprising,” said Makenna Norris, Lebanon High School artist. 

Students visited each other’s schools to share recipes, stories, and images of how food connects to their sense of identity, cultural family, and community. 

The students’ artwork, stories, and recipes are on display at the Brick Cities Gallery, and they are proud of their accomplishments. The initiative was a great success, allowing students from different schools and backgrounds to connect and share their diverse experiences through food and art.

“What we did was a great thing and it really does need to be honored and shown to the world,” said Willard High School teacher, Sarah Luttrell.