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Press Release

Arts Program Inspires DPS Youth to Design their Own Model City

Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705

Posted: June 28, 2011

WHAT: The Center for Visual Art (CVA) at Metropolitan State College of Denver has partnered with Denver Quality Afterschool Connection (DQUAC) to teach youth ages 8 to 11 how to think critically in their own surroundings by designing a scale model of their ideal city. 

The initial phase of the three-week camp, June 6 through June 29, asked students to perform a detailed audit of a four-block radius of Smedley Elementary School in the Sunny Side neighborhood. Following the audit, students elected to break into three task force areas including city planning, parks and recreation, and public art to determine what essential elements they desired. Each student designed an individual piece of the community, and then collectively students determined how each element would work congruently to complete their collective vision.  Negotiations had to take place to accommodate the mixed-use needs of the community that contains residential housing, retail, public spaces, a park and pool. The group titled their city “The Inspiring Community.”

WHY:  Financially strapped parents consistently cite summer as the most difficult time to ensure that their children have productive things to do. Evidence shows that student learning slows or stops in the summer months and achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged children widen. Some program participants are even experiencing homelessness. This camp supports Metro State’s goal to help at-risk youth and students of color, as the College works to achieve federal status as a Hispanic Serving Institution.

HOW:  The Denver CAMP program is organized annually by DQUAC, an ongoing partner with the CVA through its Art Builds Community (ABC)    program. Through partnership with Denver CAMP, the program provides students a camp experience at no cost to families who cannot afford the price of ordinary summer camp. Denver CAMP is sponsored through local partnerships, serving over 250 youth ages 6-15 annually.  

WHEN:  Wednesday, June 29, 2011 • 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.

Final reflection on the art project                                                   8:30 – 9 a.m.                 
Social discussion about the project with parents and community        9 – 9:30 a.m.     
Final student presentations                                                          9:30 – 10 a.m.


WHO: Ericka A. Baxter, Metro State CVA Education Outreach Coordinator, is available for interviews along with students.

WHERE: Smedley Elementary School (42nd/ Shoshone) Room 161

4250 Shoshone St. Denver, CO 80211

VISUAL: Artistic model scales (1 inch = 2 feet) of the Sunny Side neighborhood, design presented by elementary students.


About Center for Visual Art

A division of Metro State’s Art Department, the Center for Visual Art contributes to the College’s status as the only public higher education art program in Colorado to maintain accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Currently nearly 1,000 art majors enjoy instruction from the department’s diverse faculty of nationally and internally recognized artists. For more information about the CVA go to


About Metropolitan State College of Denver

With more than 24,000 students, Metro State is Colorado’s leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans. The College now offers master’s degrees in accounting and teacher education, and will offer a master’s in social work starting fall 2011. The College enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts more than 70,000 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.