AURORA | For art educators at Aurora Public Schools, the first week of February is a special time of year.
But it’s not due to the increased prospects of a much-needed snow day or the possibility a rodent prognosticator in Pennsylvania could forecast winter’s imminent demise. Rather, it marks the arrival of some coveted, albeit brief, time to chat with peers about what brought them to the field in the first place: A longstanding love of creativity.
“It’s fun, it’s enjoyable and it’s always a good time of year,” said Ameet Patel, an art teacher at Aurora Quest K-8, an APS magnet school on East Second Avenue. “It’s one of the few times that art teachers across the district get the chance to connect.”
Patel is one of some two dozen APS art teachers who will have a work featured in an upcoming exhibit at Downtown Aurora Visual Arts that is exclusively dedicated to the work of public art educators. Now in its 16th year of existence and eighth at DAVA, the annual APS art educators show grants a rare opportunity to many artists who are often hard pressed to find adequate professional spaces to display their work.
“Often, art teachers get caught up in school work and don’t have a ton of time to make much art,” said Viviane Le Courtois, program manager at DAVA. “Some of them do, but I know for many of the teachers this is an opportunity to really have a deadline and make something that they may not do otherwise because they put so much time into teaching.”
On top of serving as a resource for teachers, the show provides a unique opportunity for APS students to see their teacher’s work outside of the classroom and learn about their creative processes, according to Patel.
“I’ve invited students to come and check it out in the past, which is always really cool,” he said. “And when you see them next in the classroom your interaction is a little bit different. They’re a bit peppier and they see you in a different light, that’s for sure.”
Le Courtois, who has hung the show at the DAVA gallery for nearly a decade, said that the featured pieces in this year’s exhibit run the gamut from spray-painted canvases to 3-D printed gadgets.
Most of the pieces on display at the exhibit will be made available for sale, including a handful of tiny garden gnomes of varying sizes that were hand-painted by each artist featured in the show, according to Kenny Webb, an instructional coordinator with APS. The gnomes will be sold in a silent auction format for between $20 and $30. All proceeds from the gnome sales will benefit a scholarship fund in the name of A.J. Boik, one of the 12 victims of the Aurora theater shooting in 2012. The scholarship provides funds for underprivileged students to attend the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, which is where Boik, a graduate of Gateway High School, had plans to attend college.