Arts Education

One added value to Kaleidoscope’s programs is its arts education component. We believe that students who are exposed to art, and who are given opportunities to express themselves through different techniques and media will be more resilient, happy, and smart. Kaleidoscope encourages the frequent use of the arts to expand and enrich the experience of our students. We are striving to provide more opportunities for our students to be creative, to experiment with a variety of artistic mediums, and to come up with their own solutions based on what they know about life, what they are feeling, and what they dream about. With arts education being removed from so many schools, we believe it is vital that we provide this arts outlet to round out the experience of our students and enhance their education.

Throughout the year Kaleidoscope partners with Free Arts of Minnesota to create art structured around a theme. Themes encourage our students to think about issues and problems in the neighborhood and in their lives. This year our students will explore issues of identity, community, and environmental stewardship through art. As an added bonus, students often get the chance to display their work in the lobby of the Center for Changing Lives, a space visited by thousands of people annually. These exhibitions are sometimes accompanied by receptions and art shows dedicated to the work the students created. For many students, it is an inspiring experience, not only to create incredible pieces of art, but also to be able to present their work to the public and communicate their ideas. Our arts education program truly benefits all.

Here are some of our past art themes and projects:

  • I Am Rich Because: This was a mixed media project where students explored why they were rich without referring to money and “stuff” they had. Students made silhouettes of their heads and then wrote the reasons they were rich around the silhouette. The art was made using crayons, paint, markers, and the wax relief process.
  • Colors of Phillips: This was our first children’s photography project. Through mini lessons and hands on instruction students discovered how to operate a camera, how to frame an image, how to capture interesting subject matter, how to use points of view, and how to use elements of design to create a successful photo. The students walked around the neighborhood and took photos of things they found pleasing or interesting. Textures and fabrics from the Somali Mall, the lines and beauty of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, cityscapes viewed through fences, and varied styles of architecture were captured through the innocent and wise eyes of Kaleidoscope students. Photos are available for purchase here.
  • Youth Homelessness – Growing Home: One in five of our students has experienced homelessness and/or is currently living in transitional housing. The focus of this project was to have the students explore sculpture. Students learned about 3-dimensional forms and how they experience this in their own homes. Their homes are like sculptures with insides and outsides; they have form and function. The students built small “dream” homes with various art materials.
  • Vital Age – Arts and Elderhood: Students learned technical photography skills, the history of portraiture, and then interviewed and photographed their senior buddies. We wanted them to not only learn technical photography skills, but we also wanted to teach them about the importance of history, lifecycles, and ethnographic interviewing. We wanted them to explore issues of elderhood and learn about other communities and cultures where elders are valued and respected.
  • Weaving Us Together: Each student worked with a professional fiber artist on making a storycloth, which was then pieced together to make a quilt. Each storycloth focused on telling some aspect of each student’s story and was then pieced together with other students’ pieces to tell the community story of our students’ experiences as children who live in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis.

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