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Colorado State University Pilot Program Allows At-Risk Youth To Create Art, Improve Academics

Tuesday, August 18, 1998

FORT COLLINS--The Colorado State University art department is directing a new after-school program designed to allow elementary students to create art and improve academic skills in the process. The Hatton Gallery at Colorado State will display two collaborative community art exhibitions in association with the after-school program.

The pilot program, called "It's a Gas!," is directed by Colorado State faculty members Patrick Fahey and Linny Frickman and will serve about 30 at-risk students at Garfield Elementary School in Loveland. The children will meet twice a week during the 1998-99 school year for collaborative art-making sessions supervised by local artist Sharon Carlisle. Colorado State students enrolled in a service learning seminar titled "Art, Diversity and the Community" will assist the children with art projects as well as with academics, homework, and reading.

"We've modeled this program after two highly acclaimed community art projects," Frickman said. "These projects have shown how art can be used to increase literacy, develop business skills, improve math skills and boost self esteem. Both projects stress the importance of school and provide safe after-school environments. 'It's a Gas!' is designed with the same goals in mind and has a special emphasis on reading in connection with making art."

Exhibitions from the two collaborative community art projects will be displayed at Colorado State's Hatton Gallery this spring. The exhibition from YA/YA, or Young Aspirations/Young Artists, features the work of at-risk youth from New Orleans and will be displayed from Feb. 1-March 5. The exhibition from Tim Rollins and K.O.S., or Kids of Survival, consists of work by Latino students from the South Bronx. Both groups are nationally renowned for the quality of their work and for addressing the needs of marginalized youth.

During the spring of 1999, "It's a Gas!" participants will take part in workshops with visiting artists from YA/YA and K.O.S. and will visit the exhibitions at Colorado State. In the summer of 1999 the Garfield Elementary School student work will be presented in a professionally installed and publicized exhibition at the Hatton Gallery.

The "It's a Gas!" project was created in consultation with the Loveland Police Department "Project Yes." "It's a Gas!" is funded by the Critic and Artist Residency Series in association with the K.O.S. program, with assistance from Colorado State's Office of Community Service's Service Learning Project. Local support for the program also comes from Dr. Joe Jabaily, and Dr. Larry Krantz and Dr. Elmo Frickman of Healing Arts Medical in Loveland. The Hatton Gallery exhibitions are funded by the art department's Critic and Artist Residency Series program, the Office of the President and the Lilla Morgan Memorial Fund.

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