Our Mission is to:
* Provide a community arts center that enhances creativity and fellowship;
* Promote the education, appreciation, and enjoyment of the arts; and
* Celebrate the cultural heritage of our diverse populations.
In 2010 a handful of artists and community activists established Dancing Spirit (DS) as a member-based cooperative and gallery. As the gallery and its members became more visible in the community, Dancing Spirit offered art classes and community art events. Subsequently, Dancing Spirit was invited to hold classes during public after-school programs as well as the Tribe's youth-focused initiatives. Encouraged by the community response, Dancing Spirit achieved 501c3 status as a community arts center in 2014. In 2015, DS spearheaded the repurposing of a closed elementary school into the ELHI Community Center. With DS leadership, ELHI is now the hub in Ignacio for community development efforts rooted in art and education.
As the After School Program coordinator and educator at the Montessori Academy in Ignacio I can unequivocally state that our children receive great benefit from their involvement in the arts through the "Dancing Spirit Art Gallery" here in Ignacio, Colorado.
This kind of education dovetails perfectly with the Montessori "philosophy'' in which lessons are really driven by a child's interest with a huge emphasis on learning through the hands. We see nearly a 100% participation rate with zero discipline difficulties during these classes as the children are so immersed in their art. The children work together well, learning to share space and materials and they have great freedom to explore through their imagination. We have our fair share of students who have academic difficulties at school, but when they are at "Dancing Spirit" at the end of the day they have had a success. This goes a long way in providing for some self-esteem and confidence that can eventually transcend into them becoming productive adults.
The passion for our children from "Dancing Spirit" is evident and our affiliation with the gallery has been a great boon to the After School Program.
After School Program Coordinator
We loved the Summer Art Program. The caliber of art instruction, materials and lessons was way beyond our expectations. There wasn't a class that didn't excite or intrigue our kids. As a parent it has inspired me to be more creative with my children and to continue to build their creative minds. Thank you so much! This program truly served our entire family and we are extremely lucky to have a Community Arts Center in Ignacio!
(Gina Cosio, Solymar (age 8), Cyrus (age 6))
. This is so creative. I love this program, I had so much fun. I had a great time at the flower farm and the candle making with Miss Katrina. (Avery, age 9)
It has been my experience, that the youth are excited and engaged in the artistic process. They have been encouraged to reflect on themselves and try to express those reflections in their art. I sincerely believe that this type of work is important for students in this age group, as they are searching for identities. They are able to consider different sides of their personalities and "try them on" while looking back through their art. Our program is purely drop-in in nature, and students typically return each week to participate.
Margaret Iberg, M. Ed.
Program Manager, 21st Century Learning Center
Thank you Summer Art Program @ Dancing Spirit! Over the summer Eppie, Phillip, and Lily get bored and lose what they learned over the summer, but with the art program that was not so. I was even able to come spend some time with them and as an artist myself it was a lot of FUN. Aside from the art I do have to say it was a big help having a FUN and SAFE environment for my kids to "hang out" at for a few hours! Thank You! (The Quintana family)
Loved the Dancing Spirit Building Bridges Through Art Summer Program. The idea of creating something stressed them out. The kids in this program thrived on the creativity. I enjoyed watching them grow through the summer. (Katrina Jameson, Instructor)