“The world needs color,” Victoria wrote among the pinks, blues, and greens of her drawing one day during class. Now the fourth grader from Lakeland Elementary proudly smiles at her art displayed in The Chopped Leaf in Federal Way.
The Federal Way Public Schools district partnered with local businesses and organizations to launch the Scholar Art in the City initiative, which displays the artistic talents of scholars at 36 establishments in Federal Way.
Featured scholar works includes paintings, drawings, pictures, short writing examples and more from each elementary, middle and high school in the district. The artworks rotate on a quarterly basis.
“It makes me happy,” Victoria said about seeing her art on display with nine other art pieces from Lakeland Elementary students.
“Art is fun and you can do art with as many people as you want,” she said. “It could be one person or a lot.”
The initiative showcases the work completed by scholars and highlights the importance of the arts in the classroom.
The initiative is also another way to see into the minds and hearts of young people, said Dr. Tammy Campbell, FWPS superintendent.
“These memorable experiences deepen scholars’ understanding around some of the big ideas and concepts they are being taught in school every day. We know that schools can’t do it alone, and I’m excited to launch this arts initiative with our community partners,” Campbell said.
The arts tell a story of Federal Way children that is different than what assessments and standardized testing tells, and while those tests are incredibly important, it’s also important for students to be able to express themselves, Campbell said.
“The vision behind it was ensuring that we had a way to show our community the gifts, the creativity, how our scholars express themselves through art,” Campbell said.
“Reading hers saying ‘The world needs color,’ I think our children have a brilliant mind around what the world can do to get better. And this is another way for us to see that brilliance on display in our businesses,” Campbell said, noting her excitement of engaging education with the community.
The Chopped Leaf was the first business Campbell had approached with the idea of the initiative and owners Nanci and Kevin Dueck eagerly agreed.
“I think it was definitely a no-brainer for us,” she said about the decision to welcome scholar art into their business. “We love the arts, we love education, and we love kids.”
The Duecks have five children who all attended Lakeland Elementary. The couple opened The Chopped Leaf in May.
“Anything that’s trying to improve education for our kids in this area, I think is fantastic,” Nanci said. “I love the idea, too, that education in our city is everyone’s concern.”
Education is a city-wide effort, she said, which starts with helping scholars see how they impact the world.
“I think it builds confidence and shows [students] they can do things beyond what they thought they could do,” she said. “I think it helps them see what they could be in the future and know that there’s possibilities out there.”
Scholar Art in the City can be found at B&R Espresso, Red Robin, Federal Way 320th Library, Macy’s, the city of Federal Way Mayor’s Office and many more.
For a complete list of participating businesses and organizations or for more information, visit fwps.org/scholarartincity.