Peninsula elementary school has invested in providing a comprehensive arts curriculum for its students for the past 5 years.  Beginning with when the building housed a middle school, to now as a K-5 elementary, the visual arts program, partly funded by the Portland Arts Tax, has provided students an opportunity to explore, learn and express themselves in the visual arts.

Caldera has been active working with Peninsula’s middle school students in the past and with the S2S grant, the presence of Caldera has continued to enrich the art curriculum by providing photography focused opportunities to Peninsula students led by our fantastic resident artist, Julie Keefe.  

Working with groups of 3-5th grade students each week, Julie creates an atmosphere of trust, creativity and collaboration.  By incorporating literacy and math skills into her photography lessons, she not only mentors students but helps them build confidence in themselves as they find their creative voice.  She has provided creative opportunities for the community to invest and collaborate with Peninsula which has strengthened the unity of our diverse neighborhood.

Highlights of our Peninsula Story:

Year one: Establishing neighborhood partners; Integration of music and work with Disjecta; All school photographic residency; Building community through art events within the school; Collaboration with PSU’s MFA students in the Fine Art and Social Practice Program; After school community building activities

Year Two: Focus on neighborhoods; Portland Art Museum: Fallen Fruit; Tree plantings within neighborhood; Collaboration with PSU student and Caldera alumni to create anti-bullying video for middle school students;  Beginning of Saturday School art and mentoring; Building community through art events within the school; After school community building activities

Year Three: All school photography residency; Silver Falls ¾ grade field trip; Neighborhood exploration; All school fence installation art project; Pinhole camera exhibition; Purchase of cameras for student and staff use; Beginnings of a community mural; Continued Saturday school; Numerous after school activities helping to build community; Fifth grade commencement

Year Four Goals:  Launch of the theme:”Hero’s Journey” which combines writing, math and photography; Professional development for staff; Curriculum booklets for teachers that provide art integrated lesson; integrating art into community spaces; Partnerships with community groups including Disjecta; Continuing working in courtyard and installing artwork in school

2018 and beyond

It was no surprise to learn that the Peninsula community is comprised of creative, resilient and diverse individuals who are invested in the well-being and enhancement of their children.  This grant has allowed us to tap into that energy and celebrate all this community is and does for the greater common good.  Responding to the needs of the community, such as opening a creative art and mentor space on Saturday mornings, providing creative afterschool and evening activities, fostering leadership and creativity through continued mentoring of students all has helped contribute to the creative growth and well being of Peninsula students.

This year, our main focus will be on sustainability.  With the purchase of student cameras, curriculum booklets for teachers and dedicated professional development, we will only continue to enrich and enhance this community for its bright future!