Collaboration Between Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Schools Shows Results – NBC 6 South Florida

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It’s just around the corner. The Coconut Grove Arts Festival starts in 10 days, but it’s already making an impact in local schools.

In a collaborative arrangement with Miami-Dade County Public
Schools, 50 artists from the festival have each been assigned to mentor kids
and lead workshops at different schools.

Jacqueline Roch is a visual artist who once designed the Festival’s
poster. She’s volunteering her time at Maritime and Science Technology Academy
on Virginia Key, a school which, as its name implies, heavily emphasizes STEM

“I just think it’s one of the best things about the Festival,”
Roch said about the partnership with the school district, explaining that students
meet artists from various disciplines. “They’re being exposed to artists that
come from all over the country, some of them travel internationally, they also
get to see artists in different mediums, not every school has a ceramics
program or glass blowing or jewelry making.”

At MAST Academy, a 6-12 school, Roch is helping the teacher and
his students design and paint a massive marine mural. The project is a creative
outlet for academically-oriented students.

“Most of these kids are, you know, math, mathematicians, computers and robotics, and yet there’s a lot of kids that raised their hand that they’re interested in the arts,” Roch said.

“Art education should help us create better human beings,
well-rounded human beings, individuals who are creative, who are curious,” said
Eddie Lacayo, the school’s art teacher.

Lacayo told me he’s already seeing an impact among his students
from working with Roch.

“It opens up the possibilities and some of them tell me, I wasn’t
thinking about going into the arts but now I might consider it,” Lacayo

The experience is not a one-way street. The artists also enjoy it.

“I think it brings us back to what it was like to be a student, I
know for me that’s what it feels like,” Roch said.

The actual students told us working with a visiting artist is
expanding their horizons.

“I think it’s pretty cool that I was given this opportunity that
not many people have,” said senior Arturo Rodriguez, who is taking his first
art class this year.

“It’s fun because we get to not only work all together but we get
to incorporate our own ideas,” said junior Krysthel Cisneros.  

Maybe these STEM-intensive kids are learning there are different
ways to climb the ladder of success.


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