Despite blazing sunshine and soaring temperatures, the learning continues for two DCISF students. This summer Vivian and Anahi represented our school at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival where they were given a sizable budget with which to shop for art work. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Janus Capital Group, our students purchased $500 worth of artwork to hang in the school’s hallways, something that is sure to improve the aesthetics of our learning and teaching environment. Program administrators also gave the girls $1,500 to shop for artwork that will be displayed in the Mobile Art Gallery which will tour various schools, libraries and community centers throughout Colorado.
In order to prepare for the experience they girls engaged in an intensive investigation of art, both the creating of art and the observation of art. The students researched each and every painter, mixed media artist, sketch artist and photographer presenting at the festival. From there they selected their favorites and were asked to justify their selections. Their investigation explored questions like:
- “What does it mean for an artist to have a vision?”
- “How can art represent an individual? A community?”
- “How can art be an international language?”
When the day of the event came they were ready. In fact, our Janus Guide commented on how prepared they were. They knew which artists they wanted to meet, they understood their budget, and they had an idea as to where they would like to hang the work in the halls of our building. These girls impressed us all!
After touring the booths and asking well informed questions Vivian and Anahi decided to purchase artwork from art festival veteran, Ethan Jantzer (http://www.ethanart.com/). Their rationale was simple: They liked the artist’s process (his photos are taken without a camera!), his artwork was affordable, and the vibrant colors and representations of nature are much needed in our old and trodden hallways.
In the end, both Vivian and Anahi had to present their selections in a public forum with nearly one hundred people in attendance. They were asked spur-of-the-moment questions that were answered with grace. They were gracious and respectful as they represented the DCISF community in a part of town largely unfamiliar to them.
I walked away from the experience very proud of our little leaders. First of all, they were the only noticeable minorities in the cohort of participating students (twelve schools participated state-wide). And in the face of an unfamiliar environment they were both very nervous but INCREDIBLY articulate. Next, our students greeted each artist they met with a handshake and eye contact. As educators we often overlook these valuable lessons. Sometimes it is not what you know, but how you present yourself, that determines success. And on this point I’d have to say that these ladies will go very far in life. Finally, I was thrilled to see that our parents were as supportive as they were. The girls had their families in attendance, just another predictor of success. 🙂
Overall the day was wonderful. The looks on the girls’ faces when they met an artist whose work they admired was priceless. They were glowing with pride and admiration. I’d like to extend a special thank you to my friend and colleague, Maria Segura, for all of her help. Without her time and energy it would not have possible.
Please come by the school next year and check out our Ethan Jantzer collection! I am certain that Vivan and Anahi would be thrilled to give you a tour.