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Innovative Educator: Nampa school project celebrates culture through collaboration

History, art, language and culture are coming together in an all-encompassing student project at Idaho Arts Charter School.

BOISE, Idaho — Editor's note: This content is sponsored by CapEd Credit Union.

At Idaho Arts Charter School in Nampa the dance students learn new steps while the visual arts students work up new works of art and the Spanish class kids produce new poetry. They are working in different disciplines, but creating in collaboration.

"This is a skill that students are going to need in whatever kind of workplace they go into," dance teacher Kelli Brown said.

Collaboration on an exploration of history, art, language and culture.

"It's one of the things that's really encouraged is this cross-curricular educational experience for our students," Brown said.

Brown calls the project the Guernica Collaboration. It sprang from a 1937 Pablo Picasso anti-war masterpiece painting titled "Guernica."

"On my part with the dance program we are looking at Basque culture because Guernica is a Basque city that was bombed during World War 2," Brown said. "The painting is based off that bombing."

The Basque dancing and the Spanish poetry will go hand in hand with the paintings or graphic designs the art students create around ideas of what affects us as humans.

"All kinds of really interesting different ideas about how a visual artist can try to make a statement about something that is a current issue and try to create change," Brown said.

It also celebrates a culture that thrives today in our area, the Basque connection to Boise. The students from all three programs took a field trip together to the Basque Museum.

"A lot of our students don't get a chance to travel even out of Nampa," Brown said. "So for them to understand that we have this diverse and really rich culture here in Boise is really fun and exciting and the kids had a great time."
And Brown believes this is a great time in their lives, and projects like this are a great way, to show them what they are capable of, through collaboration, or on their own.

"Whether they continue art past high school that they individually can have an impact on issues that they see in their world, and if this is one venue for them to be able to do that, that is really exciting to provide that for them."

The students will put on their final performance combining all the different elements on February 22 in front of the students and staff at Idaho Arts Charter High School. Mrs. Brown received a $750 grant from CapEd Credit Union to buy costumes, art supplies, and books on collaboration for the project.

Educators, for information on submitting an application for a classroom grant through the Idaho CapEd Foundation, visit www.capedfoundation.orgIf you would like to nominate an Innovative Educator who is going above and beyond, send us an email to innovativeeducator@ktvb.com.

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