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LBAC Programs- Arts Reaching Youth at Risk
 
Project at Cheldelin Middle School
 

Led by
Gregg Kleiner
and
Kiko Denzer

 

   Gregg Kleiner is a writer, poet and storyteller, and author of the novel Where River Turns to Sky. He has a BA in Journalism and German Literature, and has taught various writing workshops and courses throughout the western United States. He particularly enjoys working with at-risk youth, because it is there that he sees so much potential for healing the wounds of our society. In l986, he co-founded the international technical writing and translation company, Terra Pacific Writing Corporation. For Gregg, the highlight of this program has been experiencing the little glimmers of hope that light up in some of these kids when they are exposed to art and working artists. It opens up new possibilities to them and they show a rise in self-esteem, and a pride in their creativity.
   
     Kiko Denzer is a local sculptor who works in concrete, adobe and other earthen materials. He has led workshops about earthen-material sculpture in New York, New Mexico and Mexico, has been an artist-in-residence in numerous locations, and has worked with special populations in Mexico, a correctional facility, and with local foster youth.
   
The Program:
     Working individually, in teams, and as a class, students transformed a grassy section in front of the school into a stepping stone path and a labyrinth, which will remain as a permanent art installation. It was created by designing and casting concrete stepping stones in a labyrinth pattern, inscribed with words drawn from student's individually written stories. Everyone had his/her own story, path, and destiny, but as humans, we share some common experiences. The labyrinth is a physical interpretation of that shared experience that invites personalization, since every person will have a different experience of walking the path.
Goals:
1. Writing exercises that encourage students to focus on
positive "turning points" in their lives.
2. Developing a sense of pride, and respect for others in completing
a challenging project with so many elements.
3. Teamwork in both construction and in working together to achieve a
finished, flowing story on the stones of the labyrinth.
4. Exposure to various arts enrichment elements.
5. Learning new skills: the art of 2 and 3-D design, mold-making,
concrete casting, story writing to enrich our lives, and expanding
visual and verbal vocabularies.
   
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