Ranch View students enjoy visiting art

Grant allows moving art galleries to roam school halls

Art objects included in the Cherry Creek Art Festival’s Moving Art Gallery, MAG, exhibited at Ranch View Middle School in Highlands Ranch through the Alliance Project, funded by SCFD organizations. Courtesy photo
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For a second time, students at Ranch View Middle School in Highlands Ranch have won a grant from The Alliance Project allowing for a variety of art to be delivered to the school and implemented into their curriculum.

The program was developed because it's become more and more difficult for schools to afford the cost of field trips.

Each year, one middle school in each of the seven counties served by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District is a recipient of this special service, paid for by about 30 of the largest “culturals” from Tiers I and II included in the district, who contribute to a fund.

Usually, the program continues for a second year, according to coordinator Charlotte D'Armond Talbert, who works with cross-cultural teams to include science, art, social science in the mix. Teachers can ask for specific theme-based programs, for example: “I wish our kids had a better understanding of how to perform slam poetry”— or, “how does the coloration on a butterfly change?” Talbert will then ask SCFD organizations for a program to meet the request.

At Ranch View, there were two moveable art exhibits. One, a group of brightly-painted, rolling “Culture Cases” from the Mizel Museum, which focused on Asian, Mexican, Jewish, African, Native American ceremonial objects, such as masks, jewelry, toys, musical instruments and other cultural symbols. They were spaced around the wide second-floor hallway.

The other Moving Art Gallery (MAG) was located inside the library, circulated by the Cherry Creek Art Festival, and funded by Janus Fund.

Items come from an auction held each year at the festival plus some chosen by students who visit the festival in July. There are paintings, sculptures, art glass, ceramics and wood objects, displayed on panels and pedestals.

Students serve as docents and conduct small groups throughout the show, explaining the art. Art teacher Amy Beth Mears trained the student docents who had to learn a bit about each piece.

Printed material comes with the exhibit, bearing a statement and explanation from the artists. These are available for visitors to pick up if they wish.

John Petry's fanciful “Vegas Baby” sculpture, with a flared skirt of playing cards, attracted attention, as did Ann Hall's “Cow,” a three-panel version of the “eat mor chiken” bovines seen on local billboards, advertising Chik-fil-A.

It's customary to invite students from another school and on Feb. 24, sixth graders from El Dorado Elementary School did just that. (The program not only brings in art, but also pays for transportation for such a visit and for field trips if requested.) 

Earlier in the school year, artists from the Central City Opera came for a program, which was held in next-door ThunderRidge High School's theater, since Ranch View doesn't have such a venue.

The MAGs are constantly on the move and are available for libraries and other institutions, as well as schools, Talbert said.