Fresno Unified Students of all Ages Exhibit at ArtHop

George Morales, in transitional kindergarten at Aynesworth Elementary School, drew a picture of his mom, dad and cousin with pen and colored pencils. Edison High School student Miguel Manzo used mixed media to create a detailed drawing of two hands shaking.

Both reflected their ideas of "community."

Their art work was part of a student exhibit from 14 classes, across all ages, featured in ArtHop on Oct. 6. Students were asked to create art work based on the theme "Community is..." Pieces covered a variety of mediums, including collage, colored pencil, photography, oils, chalk and 3D.
The venue for the exhibit was First 5 Fresno County's Lighthouse for Children in downtown Fresno.

In addition to the "Community Is..." ArtHop exhibit, seven ArtHop events in gallery space exhibiting student work are planned for this school year as part of a year-long arts integration project involving the 14 classes.

The project, "Relevant Engagement in Art and Literacy" (REAL), features Aynesworth, Easterby and King elementary schools, Bullard TALENT K-8 School, Kings Canyon Middle School, and Edison and McLane high schools for the inaugural year.

As the school year continues, teachers in the project will collaborate on strategies for teaching visual arts and developing essential questions. Students will explore common themes related to literature, and express their reflections through writing and art. The series of ArtHop exhibits is based on the successful arts integration model of the ArtVenture Academy of McLane High School.

The project reflects Fresno Unified's commitment to incorporating arts into its curriculum for all ages. The Fresno Unified Board of Education's adopted Goal 2 is "All students will engage in arts activities and athletics."

"Recent studies have shown that employers and colleges look for creative individuals who are able to effectively communicate and demonstrate academic success," said Catherine Aujero, manager for Visual and Performing Arts in Fresno Unified.

"Projects such as this develop student creativity through thoughtful written and artistic expression as part of their academic success. We are committed to ensuring that students are college and career ready through a well-rounded and relevant education."

Each year, more schools will be added to this collaborative work around integrating arts into the classroom, and additional community partnerships will be expanded. The REAL project will provide students with an opportunity to explore visual arts through literature with culturally and socially relevant themes, and the experience of curating and displaying artwork in a professional exhibit environment.
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