The Arts at CIIS has partnered with nearby Marshall Elementary School, a Spanish immersion school serving primarily lower income students in San Francisco's Mission District, to develop best practices for integrating the arts fully into the school's curriculum and student experience, and for using the arts to encourage parents' engagement in their children's education. Exhibiting artists provide workshops in the 4th grade classrooms, using photography as a tool for students to explore their environments and develop critical thinking, analytical, conceptual, and written skills. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with taking, analyzing, and discussing pictures. We are working in close collaboration with the 4th grade teachers to identify strategies that are best suited to the students' needs, existing state and local curricular demands, and the needs of families and the larger community.
In the fall of 2010 Oscar Palacio did a day-long workshop with the 4th graders, during which discussion of place, home, and the urban landscape was followed by a fieldtrip walking in the neighborhood, during which students made photographs. This was followed by a gallery visit to Oscar's exhibition; students wrote about what they wondered about, as though in a literal dialogue with the artist, and then compared and contrasted their own photographs to his. In early January they returned with their families to the gallery to see their own images up adjacent to his, accompanied by their written work. This spring we worked with the 4th graders, their families, and local cartographers Shizue Seigel and Ben Pease, on an exhibition focused on the experience of immigration.