- Cherry Creek School District No. 5
Foote students participate in community art show
Students from the Marvin W. Foote Youth Services Center will have their work displayed at an art show at St. Mark’s Coffee House in Denver during the month of April.
The art show was initiated by Foote art teacher Courtney Throndson. She has been at the center for five years and shared that working with these students has helped her gain inspiration and admiration.
“My eyes have been opened to the hardships blocking these students from achieving,” Throndson said. “Knowing what they have to overcome promotes my motivation to be a strong influential figure in their lives as their teacher.”
Foote provides services and programs for juvenile offenders in order to build their skills and ability to become responsible citizens. The program focuses on individualized education, restorative community justice, life skills education and art therapy. At the beginning of this school year, Foote launched a social-emotional unit to help students better manage the difficult feelings of living through a pandemic.
“I wanted to incorporate the key vocabulary from our social-emotional learning unit as well as find a way to give students a form of comfort as they navigated this phase of their life,” Throndson said.
Throndson led her students through the process of designing and creating an inspirational pillow. Students created an inspirational quote that they wanted their “future self” to tell their “present self” to help them gain strength and peace of mind. Students were able to learn a new graphic design program and explore an activity that could turn into a hobby or profession. After printing the quotes on iron-on decals, students learned how to transfer their work onto fabric and sew the fabric into a pillow that they could keep. They printed a second decal that went on a collaborative quilt showcasing all the students’ designs.
“We hung the quilt on the wall at the center and my students said they hope it brings comfort to new youth who will see it when they arrive,” Throndson said. “I am so inspired by these students who worked so hard and took this project seriously.”
The students were excited to be highlighted in a positive way, and many expressed concern about showing their work at the risk of it becoming lost or destroyed. Throndson shared that many of her students surprised themselves with their own talent. Without access to formal art classes or opportunities, her students dove into the project with passion and excitement.
“I really love this project because it wasn’t just about art,” Throndson said. “It was about the students creating a vision of the future they wanted to make for themselves.”