Day 104: We Have Been Selected for the Janus Student Art Buying Program!

This month Janus and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival have selected the Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS) at Ford Elementary to participate in their 10th annual Janus Student Art Buying Program.  This one-of-a-kind experiential art education program engages students in an in-school exercise to help them explore the many facets of art, and then enables students to apply their knowledge through a hands-on art-buying opportunity at the Festival where they will purchase artwork for permanent installation at the school.

 The DCIS at Ford is a Title 1 elementary school in the Montebello region that has been undergoing revolutionary changes to curriculum design and overall school structure. We are a “turnaround” school as well as an “innovation” school. This means that the school has been stripped of what has been chronically failing for years and is fostering a new commitment to make courageous changes that educators hope will be reflected in improved student achievement. One of the new inputs our school is undergoing is the creation and implementation of a new program called Integrated Global Arts. This program allows each and every student in the school access to creative strategies for academic learning. Unfortunately, the aesthetic look of the building does not yet reflect the passion and commitment of our school’s educators. Unfortunately, the hallways are still rather bare and visually unappealing. The hope is that by purchasing art for the hallways the school will become a more beautiful place to learn and grow.

The art-buying experience will take place on July 7th at the renowned Cherry Creek Arts Festival and will engage at least three students in an in-depth exploration of art and how it can reflect the school’s identity as an internationally themed elementary school thriving in urban Denver. 

 Because our school is a member of the International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) it is of great importance to us that the students select artwork that reflects the people, places and things around the world. In this way, all students can “see, think and wonder” about the places in the world that they would like to visit and those that they wish to learn more about. Likewise, it will be important to select local artwork that reflects what it means to live in the urban environment of Denver, Colorado. In this way we hope that all students will begin to explore and celebrate the similarities and the differences amongst us.

We are extremely grateful to Janus for selecting us as one of four recipients in Denver (public, private or otherwise).  I am very much looking forward to embarking on this creative journey with our students at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival this summer!

Con Gratitud,



Day 96: Upcoming “Art Around the World” Event

On Thursday, February 23rd at 5:30 pm the students and staff at the Denver Center for International Studies at Ford Elementary will open their doors for an exhibit of student work.

Kindergarten students will walk their parents through the gym where the work they have been developing with their teachers and Community Artist, Adam Buehler, will be on display. Each kindergarten class will also present a brief puppet show exploring how we can make friends and solve problems with people who are different then we are.

In the auditorium first grade students will be performing the material they have been developing with dancer Elise Butler and resident Global Arts teacher, Maria Segura. Mrs. Joy and Mrs. Grant’s classes will use their bodies to trace the lineage of break dancing around the world and Mr. Pazo and Mr. Rios’ classes will give action and movement to a traditional African folktale.

In the school’s cafeteria all second grade students will explore the magnitude of our solar system and the density of the Earth’s materials through a percussion demonstration lead by African Drummer, Stephan Griffin.

Finally, resident Arts teacher, Jordan Jensen, will display student work in the halls of the school. Families and friends are encouraged to take a “gallery walk” through the school’s main corridor, soaking in all that the students have learned while making their traditional African masks.

Events in all locations will occur on a rotating basis, and programs with “show times” will be provided to everyone attending the event. In this way, the community members attending the event will have the opportunity to see everything happening in the building at a time that suits them best. The event will conclude at 7:00 pm. For further questions on the event please contact Integrated Global Arts Specialist, Tamera Cone at