By the end of the 2017-18 academic year, ARCK will have enjoyed eight lively partnerships with Boston Public Schools since 2012. We partner with schools based on need for arts programming and Title I status, in which the majority of students come from low-income households. We aim to expand to serve even more students, classrooms, and schools!
We are in our seventh year of partnership with Gardner Pilot Academy (GPA), a full-service and inclusive community school serving 370 students in grades K1-8. GPA is located in the Boston neighborhood of Allston. In the spring of 2016, ARCK’s eighth grade students at GPA had the opportunity to create a large-scale public mural with Boston artist Mark Cooper, making their mark physically, visually, and creatively in their own local community of Boston. Entitled “I Am, We Are,” the mural showcases students’ exploration of their identities and multicultural communities and is located across from Fenway Park stadium in a space visible to an annual audience of three million. In the fall of 2017, seventh graders in our classes participated in ARCK’s public installation for HUBweek, “I Am…You.”
ARCK has been partnering with the Blackstone, located in the South End of Boston, for five years and has served almost 400 students there. Around 600 students attend Blackstone. For the 2017-18 school year, we are teaching one second grade class, three third grade classes, three fourth grade classes, and one fifth grade class. ARCK held its first annual Parent Art Night at Blackstone in 2016, in which families were invited to view their children’s showcased work and celebrate their arts-integrated accomplishments. Blackstone’s motto is “Ubuntu,” an African term that means “I am what I am because of who we all are.”
Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, we are working with two 7th grade Humanities classes at the Frederick, located in the Dorchester neighborhood, to explore themes of identity and community through public art. Around 40 Frederick students contributed to the “I Am…You” installation displayed at HUBweek Boston in October. We are now in the midst of a second public art project, continuing to integrate the creation of public murals with a Humanities class unit on migration and border crossings.
In the spring of 2018, we will work with five classes of 5th grade students at Josiah Quincy Elementary School (JQES), a K0-5 community school located in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood. ARCK’s founder, Sara Mraish Demeter, first worked with JQES in 2011 when she spearheaded a “Diversity Thru Art” initiative that brought in artists from different cultures to teach art to all 840 students at the school, which at the time lacked funding for an art teacher. This initiative became the foundation for ARCK. In spring 2018, our teaching artists will offer ARCK’s Civic Engagement module to five fifth grade classes, focusing on human rights in a collaborative quilt project.
During the 2015-16 school year, ARCK offered literacy and STEM-infused arts education to students at the EBEEC from pre-K to second grade. The EBEEC is an early childhood level school with around 200 students, 70 percent of whom are English language learners. We taught a total of 88 students. A highlight of our program was a project within the Leadership Module in which students constructed their own 3D models of buildings to learn about architecture around the world.
At Red Oak, ARCK ran an after-school program for fourth grade students from the Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown during the 2014-15 school year. This program focused on STEAM (STEM + Art). Students used Minecraft in conjunction with technical drawing and exploration of design concepts through visual art exercises to expand on their understanding and capacity for math, science, technology, engineering and visual art skills!
The John F. Kennedy Elementary School, located in Jamaica Plain, serves approximately 400 students in grades K1-5. ARCK taught visual art classes to all second and third grade students over the course of the 2013-14 school year. Additionally, ARCK led an exciting collaborative project with MIT D-Lab students to incorporate technology and design into a 5th grade writing classroom.
The Tobin is an extended services K-8 school in Roxbury, MA. In 2013, we worked with 5th graders, incorporating learning themes and subject matter in our arts-based lessons in connection with their academic curriculum. Our classes enjoyed sharing about all of the cultures and different communities students identify with and making connections to new and different ones as well. A highlight of our program that year was discussing the Universal Doctrine of Human Rights and bringing in specific articles to each art lesson!