Aurora Central student art for sale to support DAVA upgrades

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AURORA | A group of art students from Aurora Central High School are stepping up to help Downtown Aurora Visual Arts with infrastructure upgrades so that the organization can continue to offer arts education to kids who might not otherwise have access to it.

Leadership Aurora class of 2022 organized the fundraiser, “Art is Magic”, for Thursday, April 14. Members of the community are able to purchase original artwork from the Aurora Central students in support of DAVA’s building on Florence Street.

Leadership Aurora is a yearly leadership development program run by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce. Each class is responsible for putting together a project that gives back to a local nonprofit.

This year’s class chose to work with DAVA, and conducted a long term safety needs survey to determine its needs. Krista Robinson, DAVA’s executive director, said that the building needs more exterior lighting because many of its programs for students run into the evening. It also needs upgrades to some of its doors and to the courtyard area where students do work and take breaks.

Leadership Aurora hopes to raise $15,000 to cover those costs for DAVA with the silent auction fundraiser this Thursday at The People’s Building.

As a nonprofit organization, Robinson said that most of DAVA’s money goes toward keeping its programs running. With Leadership Aurora’s support they will be able to put money toward things that feel like a luxury to address but “are really critical for our students,” she said.

The organization runs free art classes and summer programs for kids ages three through 12th grade, and pairs art with workforce development training for older students. Many of its programs bring the arts to students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access those opportunities, Robinson said.

DAVA also partners with Aurora Public Schools to hold exhibitions for district art students, and has many Aurora Central students in its programs, she said. 

Mehran Ahmed, the incoming principal of the arts magnet school that will open on the ACHS campus in the fall, is a member of this year’s Leadership Aurora class and worked with the school’s art teachers to have art students donate pieces to the silent auction.

“He wanted to be able to have students here give back to the community with really great high quality artwork,” art teacher Deb Abbott said.

Each of the school’s six art teachers have selected five or six pieces of student artwork that students have agreed to donate to the auction. The pieces are in a variety of mediums, including photography, ceramics, drawing and painting, Abbott said.

Senior Alejandro Torres and sophomore Gabby Martinez both have drawings they created with colored pencils that will be entered into the silent action. They told The Sentinel it was exciting to have their work included in the fundraiser. 

“I really looked forward to creating artwork to sell, it’s never something I’d done before,” Torres said.

Because of DAVA’s involvement with APS, Robinson said that having students involved in the fundraiser felt like “a natural partnership.”

She’s excited for district students to have more opportunities to explore the arts next year with the opening of the magnet school, which students in a DAVA program designed the logo for. A number of program students are enrolled in the incoming freshman class, and the organization hopes to partner with the school, which has said it plans to work with many of the area’s surrounding arts and theater groups.

“It’s really a wonderful community partnership, all of us at DAVA are really excited,” Robinson said.

The fundraiser will take place at The People’s Building, 9995 E. Colfax Avenue, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday April 14, with a silent auction from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a magic show by Professor Phelyx from 7:30 to 8:30.

Tickets are $40 and include two drinks along with appetizers. They can be purchased online at https://bit.ly/365V34M.

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