DAM Awarded Dresner Foundation Grant to Expand Art Lives Here Education Program in Colorado

The museum will partner with more than 100 schools and community centers over the next three years

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) is proud to announce it was recently awarded a $271,800 grant by the Dresner Foundation to support and expand Art Lives Here / El Arte Vive Aquí, an art education program designed to bring objects from the museum's new teaching art collection to schools and community centers demonstrating need in Denver. As of Oct. 1, the three-year grant will allow the program to reach approximately 36 predominantly Title 1 schools and four community centers per year by fall 2020.

Art Lives Here installation used during the pilot program in spring 2017.

Co-created with Colorado schools serving diverse student populations, a pilot Art Lives Here / El Arte Vive Aquí program launched at three schools, two of which are Title I schools, in spring 2017. The expanded program will now include taking a pop-up art installation, featuring objects from the museum's teaching collection, to elementary schools and community centers where installations 'live' in each location for about a month, providing unique and immersive experiences for students, teachers and families with art objects. The DAM also provides each site with related interactive activities and online resources for teachers to facilitate engagement with the objects and create connections with curriculum and school values.

"Art Lives Here reflects our commitment to arts education in schools and nearby communities, as well as our commitment to creating transformative art experiences outside of our walls," said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director at DAM. "The program is designed to breathe new life into school curriculum through engagement with art, spark intercultural dialogue and build community through shared experiences. We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Dresner Foundation. Their support will help us take the program to new heights and reach hundreds of youth and their families."

The DAM worked with American Indian artist Melanie Yazzie to start building the museum's teaching art collection. She also created seven new original artworks that contributed to the overall visual presentation of the pop-up art installation for the pilot program. The new works Yazzie created inspired her to consider how teachers could engage students with ideas and concepts surrounding each art object and resulted in a teaching lesson video that can found on the museum's Creativity Resource web page.

While the teaching art collection is currently comprised of American Indian-focused artworks that are rich in narrative and pattern, such as beaded moccasins and an intricate quillwork box, the museum has plans to expand the teaching art collection to include artworks from around the world to provide students with insights into the role art plays in society.

Students interacting with Art Lives Here installation during the pilot program in spring 2017.

Additional funding provided by the Dresner Foundation will allow the museum to develop two additional pop-up art installations in collaboration with partners that explore contemporary themes such as identity and social action. DAM also will conduct ongoing evaluations to refine and enhance the program. Local contemporary artists will contribute to the overall design of the two new installations and develop related programming such as artist-designed activities and video content for a hands-on artmaking workshop.

"The Dresner Foundation is proud to support the efforts of Art Lives Here / El Arte Vive Aquí to provide high-quality arts programming to students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to visit the museum or have these kind of interactions with art," said Virginia Romano, Executive Director, Dresner Foundation.

Committed to expanding access to art, the museum launched a Free for Kids program in 2015, which funds free general admission to youth visitors 18 and under every day, as well as provides transportation funds for Title I schools. In 2016, the DAM served more than 738,000 visitors, and through the Free for Kids program, the museum welcomed more than 134,000 youth visitors.

Art Lives Here / El Arte Vive Aquí aims to expand the museum's reach outside of its walls to students and families from every socio-economic background to foster creativity and art appreciation as a life-long opportunity and help students see the world in new ways.

"We usually think of growth in terms of growing socially, emotionally and academically, but I do think education is also about growing in your perspective," said Kelsi Robinson, Principal Fellow from STRIVE Prep at Ruby Hill, which was one of three schools that participated in the pilot program. "Whenever we can bring in a culture that kids aren't exposed to every day like the Art Lives Here/ El Arte Vive Aquí program offers, it helps them grow their mindset and perspective about the world. I do think it's helpful to share with youth that there's a world out there they may not see every day."

While the grant from the Dresner Foundation supports the program's expansion in Denver, Art Lives Here / El Arte Vive Aquí has been designed to reach schools in-need in the metro Denver region. Partner schools have already been selected for the 2017-2018 academic year. For more program information, please contact artliveshere@denverartmuseum.org.

The DAM has additional programs for schools, including Family Art Socials, available to schools within a 20-mile radius of the museum, and Distance Learning courses. Please contact lzamora@denverartmuseum.org for more information about Family Art Socials.

Art Lives Here / El Arte Vive Aquí is generously funded by the Dresner Foundation and The Cathedral Fund in honor of Rand Smith, with additional support provided by an anonymous donor and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).

About the Dresner Foundation

The Dresner Foundation is dedicated to transforming lives in profoundly positive ways through grants focused on health, youth and animal welfare in metro Detroit and Denver communities. At the Dresner Foundation, we believe in working with organizations in our focus areas to create opportunity, have community impact and promote well-being. For more information, visit www.dresnerfoundation.org.

About The Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Metro citizens support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, cultural and scientific organizations. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit www.denverartmuseum.org.

Media Resources

Download PDF of press release.