Downtown Aurora Visual Arts

We serves thousands of kids in out-of-school arts education. Combining art and technology, programs emphasize innovation, problem-solving, and connection to community. This results in students gaining valuable education, job, and social skills in preparation for a wide range of life aspirations.

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Job Training in the Arts and Technology

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges

Description

Middle school students join either Computer Arts or Studio Arts, known together as Job Training (JT). Students are required to treat this training as a "real job"- showing up on time each day, working collaboratively, completing projects on time, and formally presenting their work at gallery openings. The 2018 theme "Crosscurrents: Connecting the Arts and Sciences" was determined by students during class discussions and Youth Advisory Committee Meetings. By offering ongoing, long-term programming that emphasizes teamwork, respect, personal responsibility, and the development of problem-solving capabilities, we offer youth the opportunity to gain important social skills that directly transfer to positive youth development. Job Training is a free, on-site program.

In 2014, this program received a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. Each year, 12 of the country's best creative youth development programs are recognized for using engagement in the arts and humanities to increase academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the ceremony, "You teach kids more than just skills in the arts and humanities - you light a fire in them; you help them grow emotionally and socially. And as all of you know, that has an impact on our kids not just their success in the arts and in the humanities, but on their success in school and in life."

Job Training in the Arts and Technology hours: Monday through Thursday,
4:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. (summer hours from 1:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.)

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

The majority of students at DAVA return to programs year after year, creating long-term working relationships with staff, who serve as co-collaborators and mentors. In our experience, the consistent presence of caring adults in young lives goes a long way towards building self-esteem, and learning to be strong, self-sufficient young people. This evolving arts model not only addresses the discretionary time after school when kids are left unsupervised, it also directly impacts cultural capacity in our community, supporting healthy risk-taking in the arts.

Evaluation of our 2017 programs, analyzed by the National Research Center, showed that through participating in the program, 83% of Job Training students "learn new things at DAVA," 69% "work better with others on a team," 81% "make more positive choices," and 83% feel "prepared to work at a job."

Open Studio

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges

Description

Our Open Studio program is the main point of entry for young artists at DAVA. The Studio is a drop-in, open studio format for students after school, Monday through Friday. Participants, ages 7-17, choose from a variety of arts projects, including hand-built and wheel-thrown clay projects, drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, and mixed media projects.

The Open Studio is not only a creative space for young people, it is a rich playing field for kids' endless imaginations. It is often through the Open Studio that children first experience a wide variety of artistic processes and materials. Students learn basic studio techniques and how to navigate a creative arts classroom, follow instructions, and finish projects successfully. The Open Studio is a free, on-site program.

Open Studio hours: Monday through Thursday, 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Fridays 1:00 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. (Summer hours are Monday-Friday, from 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In the Open Studio, students explore and learn different art techniques in a fully-equipped art studio, while also learning important interactive social skills, care of materials, and group art projects. All Open Studio participants take part in specialized STEAM classes and an annual education unit on nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

Family Arts

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Ethnic/Racial Minorities - General
Families
Infants/Babies (under age 5)
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged

Description

Family Arts serves children (ages 3 to 6) and their parents in a twice weekly program designed to develop creativity and motor skills in a neighborhood where many young children do not have access to preschool. Family Arts increases families' understanding of school-readiness skills, including listening, reading, writing, colors, and numbers. The Family Arts program reinforces the message that families are an integral part of community cultural development, assuring that kids of all ages have access to quality arts activities. Family Arts is a free on-site program that can be attended on a drop-in basis.

Family Arts hours: Wednesdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In DAVA's low-income community, most parents do not have the resources to send their young children to pre-school or daycare. Family Arts helps parents develop pre-literacy skills with children, such as learning numbers, letters, reading stories, as well as listening to and following directions.

"All 4 of my kids have gone through DAVA programs, and they have all learned to work together, share, and socialize with other children. I love Family Arts because it involves parents in learning and being creative together without other distractions." - Monica, with Maya (age 3)

"Attending Family Arts has definitely contributed to my son's school readiness. It allows him to see how a classroom is conducted and how to do activities on his own. He has learned to wait for instructions, follow directions, wait his turn, and participate in answering the teacher's questions. Socially he has opened up more, and his imagination has increased through art as well." - John, with Ian (age 4)

Portable Arts School (PASch)

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General
Families
Physically Disabled
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged

Description

DAVA's Portable Arts School (PASch) seeks to extend arts learning to a wide population of residents, especially those with little or no access to the arts. DAVA's traveling program brings quality art experiences to local schools and community organizations, complete with art supplies and professionally trained art teachers. PASch is a fee-based program with the unique capability to tailor projects to meet the interests, needs, and ages of any group.

To schedule PASch classes, please contact DAVA at: 303-367-5886

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

DAVA's Portable Art School is committed to serving a diverse community of special interests and special needs. In recent years, PASch has served schools, summer youth camps, after-school clubs, seniors, and low-income families.

DAVA Gallery

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

General Public/Unspecified

Description

DAVA's Gallery was developed as an educational tool for our after-school programs. A dedicated exhibition space located in the center of our community art center, the gallery attracts families, neighborhood residents, business and government leaders, and arts lovers. It also acts as a gathering space for youth to communicate with visitors, from tots to seniors.

Opening nights for student exhibitions buzz with the energy of students like David Q. (age 11), "My favorite thing about DAVA is being able to make and show my own art in a real gallery. It's great to see people in our community learn about our ideas and enjoy our art." Youth pride is evident as they welcome visitors, interview with news reporters, and give tours of their creations for family members. Each show also includes professional artists whose work connects thematically with the exhibit or who have worked as visiting artists with DAVA programs.

DAVA's Gallery hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and by appointment.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

The DAVA Gallery is a critical component of our programming because it validates youth ideas and cultural contributions on a professional level and weaves students' energy and creative solutions into our community. Visitors range from youth, parents and grandparents to reporters, state legislators, arts leaders, public officials, local artists, business owners, and college students. News features regularly appear in the Westword, the Aurora Sentinel, the Denver Post, National Public Radio, and a variety of online advertising websites. Exhibitions are often featured on local public television stations, including Channel 8.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.