Caldera Creative Curriculum Unveils Central Oregon Student Showcase

Caldera student artwork will be presented in a free public exhibit on Thursday, May 14 from 5-8pm at Sleep Inn & Suites, 1847 N. Highway 97, Redmond. The exhibit is built on Caldera’s year-long project, The Geography of We – Humans, Wildlife, and the Habitats We Share, where Caldera’s professional mentors and artists lead Caldera youth through a creative, deeply researched and integrated arts and nature learning curriculum.

“It’s an exciting project!” said Tricia Snell, Caldera’s executive director. “We launched Geography of We in 2012, as a way to deepen the integration of our art and environmental activities. Each year during the seven years the youth are with us [6th-12th grades] we focus on a different nature theme. So far we’ve had a year on water, a year on land, and now this year it’s wildlife. Essentially, students make art about their own lives in the context of the natural world around them. It’s a powerful way to encourage youth to consider our responsibility to the Earth, and to each other, while learning a whole host of art and life skills. We’re so grateful to our major supporter, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), for funding this work.”

The NEA is not the only national entity recognizing Caldera’s work. This year Caldera was named–by the President’s Committee and Art and the Humanities–as one of the top 50 youth development organizations in the country.

Caldera’s Youth Program allows students to explore their creativity through transmedia arts—storytelling across different art media. The Geography of We curriculum is a multilayered, interdisciplinary way of deepening student learning, and it offers variety over the seven-year period during which Caldera works with youth in middle and high school.

This year’s theme has inspired students to create a wide variety of art including animal masks, wildlife centered prints, and even a “wildlife mockumentary” short film. The wildlife theme started in July 2014, when 150 youth attended Caldera’s summer camp, and has continued in weekly mentoring sessions with middle- and high-school students. Caldera’s Arts Partner Schools in Central Oregon are: Elton Gregory Middle School (Redmond), Jefferson County Middle School (Madras), Obsidian Middle School (Redmond), Pilot Butte Middle School (Bend), Terrebonne Community School (Terrebonne), Warm Springs K-8 Academy (Warm Springs). Artwork created by students from each of these schools, as well as Central Oregon high school students, will be presented at the showcase.

Caldera is a nonprofit organization that works to create positive change in the lives of underserved youth through a unique and powerful blend of arts, nature, community building, and long-term group mentoring. Caldera supports youth in embracing and exploring their unique voices. The organization was established in 1996 by Dan Wieden, co-founder of the Portland, Ore., based international advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy, and his family. Caldera’s mission is to be a catalyst for the transformation of underserved youth through innovative, year-round art and environmental programs.

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