A partnership between organizations to teach students about art

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A partnership between the Des Moines Art Center and By Degrees Foundation is helping students get a deeper understanding of art.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines Art Center and By Degrees Foundation have partnered on a project to get students to think deeper about art and how it relates to everyday life.  

By Degrees is a program geared toward helping students figure out life after high school. It started in the winter and ran to the beginning of April, consisting of 15 students from North High School, Harding Middle School and Findley Elementary School. 

The My Voice project was created to show those interested in art more than just what is on a canvas. 

“It let you explore your artistic self,” Aryam Salah, a ninth-grader from North High School, said. 

“It could be in painting or drawing, film, fashion, anything you honestly wanted to do. And to tell the world what you want to say with your voice.”

Mia Buch, the museum educator at the Des Moines Art Center, said part of the project included the students coming to the art center to let them experience different artworks. 

For many, it was their first time in a museum. This was to help open students’ minds, but to also help them think critically about their art and how it can impact others. 

“I like to make art that has a very deeper meaning like you can look at it a different way and find out this and look at it another way and find out this,” said Brenda Quayee, another student in the program.

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Another student included in the project, Yeraldin Rosales, said being a part of My Voice taught her that the skills she uses to create art translates to other aspects of her life.

“You can be more creative with your work, like with writing you can be more inspired or something.”

The foundation believes this project was shows the students their artwork can take them far.

“So we know that a lot of the students that are involved in this are going to continue on in making art but we also know that even having gone through this experience they are better able to share their story and their voice,” By Degrees Foundation CEO Emily Westergaard said.

Part of the project included students creating art based on pieces they saw in the museum. Their work will be displayed starting May 5 at the Des Moines Art Center.

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