Professional artists are helping to enrich arts programming in inner city schools

TORONTO – Professional artists are working with teachers in designing and building  innovative arts enrichment programs for children attending inner city schools.

Inner City Angels is one of Toronto’s original arts education charities, which was founded by a group of artists and educators.

“It’s been around for about forty years, and it puts visual artists into schools to work with students who wouldn’t ordinarily get a chance to work in the arts in this specific way,” said Charmaine Lurch, visual artist with Inner City Angels.

This organization has been working with Rose Avenue Junior Public School and is now in its third year of a five-year arts enrichment journey, which encourages students to explore and make creative choices.

“Our school is a wonderful place to be there are so many different faces from around the world,” said Ayman Bakri, Grade 6 student at Rose Avenue Junior Public School.

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The walls of the school are covered in artwork created by the students, reflecting their experiences and backgrounds.

“Everyone in the school is involved. I believe firmly that we are a community and it doesn’t matter if you’re four-years old or twelve-years old every student should have the opportunity to learn something from this experience,” said David Crichton, Principal of Rose Avenue Junior Public School.

The theme at this school is “Hold Up the Sky,” which focuses on various art forms including music composition, visual arts, and dance.

Inner City Angels visits ten-thousand Toronto children in over fifty schools each year.

Crichton said that he is such an advocate for the arts because  “the arts have a critical role to play in student learning…especially in a school like ours where a significant number don’t speak English…a paintbrush is a paintbrush, a dance move is a dance move.”

Bakri said that “[t]he art is amazing,” and that walking into his school and seeing all the artwork makes him “just feel wonderful.”

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