SWCS Awarded Arts Grant from Regional Arts & Culture Council

We are pleased to announce that SWCS has been awarded a grant of $2,600 for 2015 from the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)! The grant will fund a project that partners our 5/6 classes with the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) and local multi-disciplinary artist, Nina Montenegro. The NCNM has generously offered up a garden wall as space for our students to create an art installation which will serve as a guide to medicinal plants in the neighborhood.

As part of their botanical studies planned for Spring 2015, students from the 5/6 class will be assigned a medicinal plant and matched with a student from NCNM, who will teach about that particular plant. Each 5/6 student will then use what they have learned to illustrate/paint their plant on a large plywood panel, along with one line of text (“Plantain helps bee stings” for example). These panels will then be affixed to the NCNM fence or wall.

The grant was written and spearheaded by Sarah Anderson, our Field Work Coordinator, in partnership with the curriculum plans of Karinsa Kelly and Lisa Colombo, our 5/6 teachers.

This project fosters a brand new relationship between two outstanding organizations, The National College of Natural Medicine, and Southwest Charter School. Students from SWCS will benefit greatly from learning botany in a multi-disciplinary way, through an approach that combines science, art, design, and natural medicine.  SWCS is a “place-based” school, which means we try to fuse curricular goals with community goals. This year, we are making a huge effort to establish more long-term community partners. Working on this project with the NCNM will help us towards this effort. The NCNM community will be enriched by the collaboration as well, by way of campus beautification and the energy of cross-pollination with younger students.  Artist Nina Montenegro will facilitate this relationship, exercising her personal interest in plant medicine and place-based, social practice artwork.  She will lead the youth in the art installation design and postcard book design, but the artwork will be their’s.  The resulting installation will be a beautiful new contribution to both communities.

An example of artist Nina Montenegro's work on a mural in NE Portland.
An example of artist Nina Montenegro’s work on a mural in NE Portland.