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Dear You

Dear You builds bridges and nurtures creativity through international artistic exchange and dialogue

Dear You creates meaningful experiences and friendships among school children, educators, and artists by making and sharing art. Through this process of exchange, a child’s worldview is widened and their skills for self expression and compassion are honed. The exchange of process-based art projects with our new friends living all around the world opens up dialogue, perspectives, and understanding.

Visual Arts in Education


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Visual Arts in Education

Web presence






Target group
May 2020
I’ve realized that even though we’re different people that we’re also the same in a different way.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

I started Dear You in 2013 so that children, artists, and teachers from all over the world could connect with each other and make new friends. Dear You was a way to bring people together to share perspectives, learn from one another, and open dialogue through art practice. Every voice should be heard and Dear You creates a safer space for listening and sharing.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Dear You’s goals and objectives are to integrate Social Emotional Learning (SEL) development by 1) strengthening cross-cultural awareness and understanding by learning about, making, and sharing art and identities, 2) deepening empathy and acceptance of different perspectives and diverse ways of experiencing the world through fostering new friendships, and 3) enhancing compassionate communication through promoting authentic self-expression and active listening.

The idea of Dear You is to create process-based art and make new friends living in all corners of the world. All Dear You participating schools are organized to have a Dear You friend in another country. During these workshops the children create their monthly art projects aka Pathfinders with their teacher or a Dear You workshop leader, which are then mailed to their Dear You friends abroad. Dear You works with the classroom teacher so that the methods are shared and that the school can also be implemented virtually.

How has it been spreading?

Dear You is open to schools all around the world. Through word of mouth, outreach efforts, publications, and our growing network we have been able to connect schools in nearly every continent. Additionally, Dear You workshop leaders work with the classroom teacher so that the methods are shared and that the school can continue Dear You independently the following year.

Dialogue, exchange, and having skills to authentically express oneself can lead to more understanding and peace within ourselves and in relation to each other. Research has shown the positive effects of Social Emotional Learning on educational, interpersonal, among other lifetime outcomes. As our community creates together, our community grows. We welcome you with open arms and open minds!

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Please contact me, Arlene Tucker at arlene.dearyou@gmail.com to learn more about how to begin your creative exchange with new friends abroad. The more I know about your intentions and your community, the better I can create the monthly Pathfinders and match friends who will support your needs and wishes. Dear You welcomes schools, homeschoolers, and individuals to share, listen and make art.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Dear You brings art and communication back by reintegrating the power of mail. By connecting schools around the world with each other, Dear You is creating a community of students, teachers and leaders who are passionate about intercultural communication and bringing authenticity into the classroom. Students are excited about connecting using art as their universal language.

HundrED Academy Reviews
Exciting experience for students to use knowledge in different disciplines, express themselves, and share aspects of their lives (language, culture..)
Mail art promises safe space that could enhance social emotional wellbeing of children in the targeted age group.
Cross cultural learning is an additional aspect that adds value to the academic curriculum. Overall, a promising way to deliver value education coupled with art and 21st century skills
- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process


Every action has its mark
Кожна дія має свій слід, кожна краплинка залишає свій відбиток. Як ви відчуваєте цей дотик? Спільно з проектом DearYou ми поділились своїми почуттями та мріями, використовуючи різні види мистецтва та техніки! Ми експериментували, дивувались і створювали щось нове! Які почуття та враження залишив цей надзвичайний процес обміну? Ми готові дати наші арт-відповіді.З любов'ю ІраEvery action has its mark, every drop leaves its mark. How do you feel this ripples? Together with Dear You Project we shared our feelings and dreams using different arts and techniques! We experimented, wondered and created something new! What feelings and impressions did this extraordinary process of exchange leave? We are ready to give our Art answers.With love,IraThe young artists from Grand Expo Online School in the Ukraine are making and sharing art with the young artists at Taizhou Pheonix School in China.https://www.dearyouartproject.com/happenings/2021/6/8/every-action-has-its-mark
Dear You: A Letter with Love
Dear You at Valencia Design Education Forum 2020 on November 5 via ZOOM! — Dear You Art Project
I am very happy to be a part of Valencia Design Education Forum 2020 / #VDEF2020! The theme of this year’s forum is Analogue+Digital.Welcome to the presentation/workshop “Mail Art + Pen Friends = Dear You Art Project” on Thursday, November 5th from 11-12 (EEST) and from 17-18 (EEST) there will be a Spanish speaking translator. Both presentations will happen via ZOOM. Register by emailing Arlene at arlene.dearyou(at)gmail.com. You will receive the ZOOM link after registration.https://www.dearyouartproject.com/happenings/2020/10/22/dear-you-at-valencia-design-education-forum-2020-on-november-5-via-zoom
The Art of Blending
Intercultural Exchange — Travel With Your Students Without Leaving the Classroom
“The cultural exchange has opened the minds of my little students,” said Arlene. “Through simple questions, they begin to understand things many children their age know nothing about, like time zones, different languages, and traditions for specific holidays around the world. My students may be small, but their minds are anything but, if you know what I mean!”As for Arlene’s pioneering program, Dear You is an art exchange project that includes schools from different countries, including Finland, the Czech Republic, Taiwan, United States, and now Vietnam. Skype connects users in different countries through a simple video call, but Arlene discovered two items that really enhance the basic Skype experience for her Dear You community: the Point 2 View USB Document Camera and the X1-N6 Internet Conference Station.https://medium.com/ipevo/intercultural-exchange-travel-with-your-students-without-leaving-the-classroom-78af75e40961
Me + You = Us - Ottiya
Dear You featured in Ottiya Empathy Issue explaining how and why Dear You was created as well as how you can be a part of making and sharing art.  https://www.ottiya.com/empathy-issue/me-you-us
We are so happy to announce that Dear You was highlighted on Yle, Finland's national public broadcasting company! During the fall of 2019 the 2nd graders from Mäntykankaan koulun in Kokkola were making and sharing art with the 1st and 2nd graders from Bulli Public School in Bulli, Australia.Yle heard about this artistic exchange and interviewed Auli Palosaari and her students along with Jeremy Gudze and his students. They met online for the first time to talk about how this experience has been meaningful for them. Oh my, the insight the students had melted my heart! The kids said that they not only learnt different art techniques, but learnt English too."I’ve realized that even though we’re different people that we’re also the same in a different way." (Olen huomannut, että vaikka olemme erilaisia, olemme myös samanlaisia.)-Harvey"I’ve learnt that there’s more to art than meets the eye." (Opin, että taiteessa on enemmän kuin ensinäkemältä vaikuttaa.)-AlbiThank you Kaje Komulainen, Yle producer, for sharing our story of how art can be a way to open dialogue and self reflect.Sincerely,Arlenehttps://vimeo.com/391618943
Together We Make — Dear You Art Project
Together We Make is a special series of process-based art projects created to bring us together during the time of COVID-19. Participation to Together We Make is open and free to people of all ages. Click on the links below to find an artistic prompt that speaks to you. Email your artwork to arlene.dearyou(at)gmail.com when you are finished and it’ll be added it to our online gallery (below) with your consent. Let’s open dialogue through art. Your art spreads more inspiration and joy than you can imagine!+++La participación en Together We Make es abierta y gratuita para todos las edades. Haz clic en los enlaces a continuación para encontrar una pista especial para ti, esta te guiará para hacer tu propia obra de arte. Envíala por correo a arlene.dearyou(@)gmail.com cuando hayas terminado, y la agregaremos a nuestra galería (abajo) en línea si estás de acuerdo. Abriéndo diálogos a través del arte. ¡Tu arte difunde más inspiración y alegría de lo que puedas imaginar!+++Osallistuminen Together We Make:n projektiin on avoin ja vapaa kaikenikäisille. Klikkaa linkit alhaalla voit löytää taiteen pisteet joka puhuu sinulle. Lähetä sinun taidetta sähköpostiviestillä minulle arlene.dearyou(@)gmail.com kun olet valmis ja voidaan laittaa teoksia näyttelyyn (alhaalla) jos sinä hyväksyt. Avataan dialogia taiteen kautta. Taiteesi levittää enemmän inspiraatiota ja iloa enemmän kuin voit kuvitella! https://www.dearyouartproject.com/together-we-make

Implementation steps

Dear You welcomes You

If you are a teacher, let Arlene know the age group of your students and how many you have. Specify your school's intention for exchange, if you have one. If you are an artist, let Arlene know what kind of art practise you do and how you would like to collaborate. There is a place for everybody!

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