Awareness Through Art
Students celebrated in diverse exhibition
"I think its very important because in order to learn who you are and what you can provide for society, you need to learn about other people around you" Marcela Manzo, National Honor Society President at Don Tyson School of Innovation
Don Tyson School of Innovation students will be featured in a free Declaration of Learning Art Exhibition and Ethnic Celebration March 30 to April 5 at the 214 Cache Art Gallery in Springdale.
The exhibition will be featured from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily with free student art, ethnic food samples and live entertainment offered exclusively on Saturday, April 2 at 214 Main St.
DTSOI is one of about 25 schools selected from throughout Arkansas to participate and design cultural engagement lessons to be shared with teachers across the nation through the Arkansas and U.S. Department of State’s National Declaration of Learning programs, said Warren Utsler, DTSOI art teacher.
“The goal of this project is to create community engagement projects that will be shared with secondary educators across America,” he said. “The project uses historic art and artifacts from museums and historic institutions to create engaging research and art experiences for students to discover their history and unite as one community.”
DTSOI is the only Springdale School District school participating in the program this year, he said.
Participation in the program is of genuine value to DTSOI students, Utsler said.
“Northwest Arkansas and Springdale have a very high diversity rate,” he said. “Too often, different ethnic and cultural groups tend to isolate themselves from interacting and cooperating with one another.”
Project works celebrate the diverse ethnic and cultural groups in Northwest Arkansas, to include those at DTSOI, he said.
Student works include art experiences built around understanding their heritage, culture, contributions to the whole community and building relationships, he said.
Featured projects include:
• Creating a personal coat of arms
• Assembling a wall hanging celebrating pride
• Laying the past to rest by recognizing ethnic tragedies and genocide
• Live facial castings to allow students to celebrate themselves as ethnic artists
• Creating paths to the community in which they live and sharing their family’s journey to NWA
• Unification through pop art sculptures of ethnic food
Utsler said he hopes the students’ works will help open others’ eyes to the world around them.
“Our youth can lead our community, state and national leaders to grasp some very basic
concepts and truths often overshadowed by politics and economics,” he said.