Student-Artists Raising Funds for Studio at Central Academy

Artist working on a piece of pottery.

Works by photographer Jami Milne (such as this image) as well as Central Academy pottery students will be on display during an art show at the school on April 15.

The article below was written by Molly Kresse, a senior in the art program at Central Academy, about an effort to develop a new art studio at the school and an upcoming art show on April 15 to show the space.

The Central Academy art studio offers authentic experiences in innovation, persistence, and creation to Des Moines high school students through the exploration of the ceramic arts. Due to the success of our program, we have grown out of our current studio space. Our goal is to raise $500,000 to renovate a currently unused space at our school (1912 Grand Avenue) into a state-of-the-art studio.

Ms. Dara Green started the throwing program at Central Academy nearly nine years ago. Green studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She started the throwing program at Central Academy in 2009 with two sections, serving a total 30 student potters. Today, the program is at maximum capacity, serving 90 student potters. Unlike any other DMPS art classes, students do not need a pre-requisite and there are no grade restrictions to take Central Academy Throwing. The students enjoy learning the techniques of throwing on the wheel, surface treatments, and how to work through challenges. The throwing program gives students an opportunity to realize their artistic potential beyond what they may believe they are capable of. The studio is filled with many different types of people and ideas. The studio is functional, but the renovated space would support greater access for more students to participate in the program.

Green is committed to evolving the throwing program to better serve the students of Des Moines Public Schools.

The basement, known as “Level A,” provides ideal natural lighting and exposed brick. Its current condition does not support HVAC and lacks power outlets.

Photographer Jami Milne captured the simplicity, beauty, and potential of Level A in a series called ART & SOUL. Milne photographed intermediate and advanced potters throwing in the space that could one day be home to a new studio.

A crew of throwing students are working together to produce an art show, “A R T & SOUL,” displaying Milne’s work and the works of potters in the program. The art show will open to the public, allowing guests to view Level A and see it’s potential on Saturday, April 15th from 7-9 PM at Central Academy, 1912 Grand Avenue.

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