Each year, Visions brings together about 40 high school art students from diverse Maricopa County-area high schools for a year-long series of activities designed to cultivate artistic skills, collaboration and civic engagement. This invitational program is based on a strong community partnership between Scottsdale Arts and participating schools that represent economically, ethnically and culturally diverse communities. Students are chosen for participation by their visual art teachers. To date, more than 850 students have graduated from the program.
Visions promotes the special qualities of art education to cultivate multicultural understanding and friendship among suburban and inner-city high school students who otherwise may not have access to these experiences. The program presents an exciting opportunity for students to view exhibitions, attend workshops and gallery talks by outstanding local and national artists, work together on collaborative art projects, participate in communication workshops and diversity discussions, and exhibit their own work in Scottsdale Arts’, Young@Art Gallery. As students learn new artistic techniques, they also develop conflict-resolution skills and build friendships that help transcend cultural, racial and socioeconomic barriers. These skills are all used back at school and create a stronger, more positive community environment. As a result, students are better prepared to successfully live and work in a diverse society.
As a teacher, I can witness the effects of the artist exchanges and workshops on the students’ academic assignments. The art-making techniques and approaches to content influence their artistic voice, value of their ideas and connections with others.
— Erik Erspamer, participating Vision teacher
Thank you for the opportunity to be involved in a worthwhile educational program. It has been highly rewarding watching so many young artists blossom, and having the opportunity to nurture my creative spirit learning from Valley prominent artists and mingling with other teachers to discuss being an artist/teaching art.
— Michelle Peacock, participating Visions teacher
The most beneficial aspect of Visions for me was to widen my view of the art world. [Visions] helped me to confirm that I want to continue making art and show my community the importance of teaching art to children and teens. Art helped me grow as a person and I think it helped others, too.
— Student, Visions ‘17