District Secures Premier Gallery Space for Student Art

The visual arts in Fresno Unified is going big time.

The district has leased gallery space in one of downtown Fresno's most high-profile exhibit venues, the M Street Arts Complex. The 731 square-foot Gallery One space will be used to exhibit works from a pilot arts project involving students of all ages from 14 classes at seven schools.

The first ArtHop in Gallery One is scheduled for Dec. 1 from 5-8 p.m., followed by student exhibits throughout the school year as part of ArtHop. ArtHop is held the first Thursday of every month at various downtown gallery spaces.

The Fresno Unified Board of Education approved the lease agreement with the M Street Arts Complex at its Nov. 16 meeting. The lease agreement expires May 31.

The gallery space will also be used for visual arts instruction and curating from teachers and guest artists.

"Leasing this premier gallery space to showcase our student art and writing from this powerful project demonstrates the board's commitment to excellence for our students and their families. Community patrons of visual arts will be able to see the impressive exhibits of our students' work as part of ArtHop each month." said Catherine Aujero, manager for the Visual and Performing Arts Department.

The overarching theme for the pilot visual arts project is "Rise Above: Finding a Place to Stand." Students will explore common themes related to literature and express their reflections through writing and art.

The visual arts 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."

Schools involved in the pilot project this year are Aynesworth, Easterby and King elementary schools, Bullard TALENT K-8 School, Kings Canyon Middle School and Edison and McLane high schools.

Prior to the lease of space at the M Street Arts Complex, students held ArtHop exhibits in October at First 5 Fresno County's Lighthouse and in November at the 1821 Gallery.