Ground zero for the Venice Art Walk has traditionally been the Westminster School campus in Venice, and this year, for the first time in its 25-year year history, the Walk will include an exhibit of works created by Westminster students in the STArt! teaching Science Through Art workshops.
Susana Maria Halpine has been awarded three consecutive Artist-in-Residence grants by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department to fund the STArt! teaching Science Through Art program in LAUSD schools.
Her 2004-05 residency at Westminster will culminate with this exhibit.
Its highlights include a fourth grade comic book on ways to prevent West Nile Virus in the community; Atomic Collages based on the molecular structure of gold, diamonds and quartz crystals; and third graders’ designs for their own “Car of the Future.”
Some student work from previous years, including digital Flash animations created by Middle School students and “Power Molecule” tee shirt designs, will also be shown.
The public can see the exhibit in Room 6 at the school at 1010 Abbot Kinney Boulevard on Saturday, May 21, from 4 to 6 p.m.
At 5 p.m. Lisa Dinkins, Arts Deputy for Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, and Jan Williamson, Director of the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica and Programing Assistant for the Cultural Affairs Department’s Artist-in-Residence Program, will speak on the importance of art education.
The STArt! program uses computer visualization, hands-on models, and art materials to explore fundamental science concepts. Workshop topics included “Designing Hydrogen Fuel-Cell and Other Cars of the Future” and “Power Molecule T-shirts.” The topics derive from the new California K-12 science curriculum standards as well as feedback from teachers and students.
The effectiveness of the STArt! approach is striking. For example, approximately 90% of third graders came away with an accurate concept of molecules, compared to only 10 percent before the one-hour presentation.
The Westminster Avenue School serves students from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade. It is a Title 1 school comprised of both a Community School and a Magnet School, and serves a predominantly low-income, at-risk, Latino community. 95 percent of the students are eligible for the free lunch program. The student body of 550 students is 77 percent Latino, 20 percent African American, and 3 percent white.Approximately 50 percent of the students are learning English as a second language, and there is a 43 percent transiency rate.