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!