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Phoenix Collegiate Academy students and Las Artes students collaborate to create two murals on Global Youth Service Day, April 23, 2010
Preparation to create this body of artwork began more than 4 weeks ago through an enrichment program at Phoenix Collegiate Academy http://www.phxca.org/ coordinated by the Cultural Arts Coalition http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac.intro.shtml and facilitated by Silvia Rodriguez, Harvard graduate enrollee for fall 2010. (The students meet with Silvia 4 days a week for 45 minutes.)
The structure of this program aligns with artspace - an initiative spearheaded by the Phoenix Office of Arts & Culture (POAC) in partnership with Arizona Department of Education, ASU Herberger College of the Arts and Arizona State Libraries. The vision of artspace is to establish a new model of educational experience to ensure students are self-confident and successful in school and can make a positive impact in their community, developing the abilities of students to create work and respond to creative work in many disciplines, building skills for the imagination and innovation necessary for the 21st century workplace. Connecting organizations that share ideologies with artspace, such as the Cultural Arts Coalition and Phoenix Collegiate Academy, is essential to shifting thought around the role of arts in education.
Three award winning books were read in the "Circle of Power", discussed (critical inquiry) and art making activities instructed in preparation to design and paint these canvases. Life Does Not Frighten Me by Maya Angelo, illustrated by Jean Michele Basquiat
Alejandro's Gift illustrated by Silvia Long and written by Richard Alpert http://www.ArtsCARE.org/lessons.htm and Antelope Woman written and illustrated by Michael Lacapa.
One of the Art History lessons that also became a focus during these weeks was information concerning the Huicholes living within the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico. These pre-Columbian people believe they are the Keepers of the Earth.
Youth were encouraged to examine and explore the artifacts of the Huichol and discuss the idea that art objects created by this culture of individuals are intended to be gifts to their deities who provide the sun, rain, animals, and earth for the growing of their crops upon which the Huichol survive. http://www.ArtsCARE.org/huichol1.htm
Besides sketches and colored pencil drawings of the youths' understanding on the themes and messages of this literature the 6th graders created material forms representative of personal intentions based upon the identification of their individual strengths and dreams for their future. http://www.ArtsCARE.org/huichol5.htm
From these many class sessions the students were to focus upon 2 Key Concepts:
We are al interconnected and interdependent upon not only one another, but all living organisms on the planet. We are therefore to "...Honor Family and all things Great and Small." (Antelope Woman).
Preparation and review for creating the canvases on Friday with students from Las Artes, Thursday, April 21, 2010, at Phoenix Collegiate Academy: The word that has been a theme focus for the past two weeks from the book Antelope Woman by Michael Lacapa was discussed by Silvia.
Interdependence is a dynamic of being mutually responsible to and sharing a common set of principles with others. The interlocking of parts within a system. Within human geography, it is a view of a system as a whole, stressing the role of each part of the system.
The youth were to make as many words out of this one word as possible. They were alerted that one person with the most words would receive a prize.
Meanwhile two youth at a time were taught to paint the foreground of the canvas with desert vegetation images. The students not painting continued to identify as many words they could make from the letters in the word "interdependence". It was wonderful to see them work collaboratively with such interest.
Everyone was given an opportunity to place their mark on the evolving artwork as judy facilitated this art making activity.
Within this 40 minute block of time three students came up with more than 40 words and one student made 60 words out of this combination of letters. The lesson became a metaphor for the manner in which the group worked together with respect and caring for one another.
These four winners were given their awards on Friday during the painting of the canvases:
Children series of art books on surrealism, pop art and expressionism plus pads of drawing paper and colored pencils will be given to three of the winners.
The fourth young person will receive the book from the Young Reader's Edition - Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. This book will be featured in the coming weeks as an art making activity based on One Man's journey to Change the World...One Child at a Time. http://www.gregmortenson.com
The youth from Las Artes http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac.event.37.shtml under the administrative direction of Mike Graser (YMCA) and Martin Moreno, art director, http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac.exhibit.2006.artists.4.shtml#moreno arrived early at PCA to begin painting the two canvases.
As each of the four groups of youth, rotating through the PCA art room from 9:30-1:30 PM, completed their paint application then answered a quick survey brought by Mike to support the assessment of this kind of collaborative effort shared by 2 institutions during Global Youth Service Day. http://www.gysd.org/
Today, millions of children and youth are showing the world the powerful impact young people can have on their communities. Locate your city on the GYSD map to find a project in your community. Or celebrate GYSD by creating your own service project.
All of the images including the focus for each canvas came from the youth in the form of sketches and conversations during the preceding 4 weeks. This body of work is an authentic expression the students' comprehension of the art history, art inquiry, personal reflection and art making experiences.
PCA Mission: Phoenix Collegiate Academy prepares sixth to twelfth grade students to succeed in college and be leaders in our community.
The PCA youth reaching to the stars to secure their dreams based upon the understanding of personal strengths and their "Honoring of Families and ALL Things Great and Small". We are interconnected and interdependent one with another in our schools, neighborhoods. state, nation and world.
May Peace Prevail UPON the Earth for ALL...