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Kyrene Middle School Students in Chandler Work With Professional Community Artists

Middle school students at Chandler-based Kyrene schools worked with artists-in-residence this semester thanks to a program created and funded by the City of Chandler Arts Commission.

An adult male guides students during an outdoor art project.

Artist Eli Richard McGlothern helps students with their art projects during the Chandler Artist in Residence program.

Late last year, the Chandler Arts Commission selected five professional educator artists to work with students throughout the city. Three out of the five artists were selected to work with Kyrene arts teachers.

“It was so exciting that the City of Chandler and the Arts Commission have teamed up to offer this opportunity to the students and our teachers,” Kyrene Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator Julie Hackmann said.

Students at Kyrene Aprende Middle School, Kyrene del Pueblo Middle School and Kyrene Traditional Academy were each joined by an artist for 6-8 week residencies in early 2024. During this time, artists spent most of their day on campus, assisting each Kyrene arts teacher with student projects.

Art teacher Shoshana Vayner at Kyrene Aprende Middle School was joined by artist Eli Richard McGlothern, who worked with students to create expressive self-portraits that represented two aspects of their personality utilizing color, positive and negative space, and song lyrics.

Kyrene Traditional Academy art teacher Kenosha Drucker worked with artist Estevan Curiel to paint a mural on campus in addition to individual projects where students used various materials to create stylized works centered around their names.

Olivia Yuen, art teacher at Kyrene del Pubelo Middle School, worked alongside artist Shari Keith who helped students explore the art of abstract assemblage using discarded materials and encouraged them to express their own artistic voices.

“Our deepest appreciation goes to the Chandler Arts Commission Chair, Michelle Hirsch, for championing Kyrene in this great experience for Kyrene kids,” Hackmann said.

Student artwork was displayed at the Chandler Center for the Arts in April, giving students and their families the opportunity to see their hard work in a professional gallery setting.