A new mobile student art display will soon be roving around town, thanks to a partnership between the LOR Foundation and the Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1.
The LOR Foundation has awarded Re-1 a grant of just over $4,000 for the School to Community Connections through Public Art project, which will feature a stationary display at the Cortez Municipal Airport and a mobile display that will migrate among local businesses.
“Most of the schools will have a community night or an art night at the end of the year, but this will create opportunities to share their work throughout the year,” said Nicci Crowley, Cortez community officer for the LOR Foundation.
Crowley said the project’s inception came about after a conversation with Cynthia Haupt, a new teacher success coach with the school district. Haupt was looking for ways to connect the community with what students have been doing in their classrooms, a desire that resonated with Crowley’s own experiences as a parent.
“My daughter’s history class did some great work designing their own quarters for a history project,” Crowley said. “And I just thought, ‘Man, if they could share their thoughts and talents and their ideas across the community.’ We’ve done some really neat things and stuff, and to just share it across their classmates is great, but I think there’s a great opportunity to share across all of Cortez.”
The student artwork at the Cortez airport will be posted on a fixed 5-by-10-foot display and will show commuters in and out of the area “how talented kids in Cortez are,” Crowley said. The roving exhibition will be a mobile, six-panel display that can be stationed at different spots around town, and will hopefully also help support local businesses, she said.
“My hope is that a classroom will tell their parents, ‘Oh, we’re at this bank this month,’ and that will create some energy and some excitement within our businesses as well, and maybe help drive a little bit of economic stimulus,” Crowley said.
The project may also lead to better transparency for Re-1, in terms of showcasing the type of classroom learning that is happening in district schools, she added. They hope to begin work on the project this fall.
The LOR Foundation aims to support the quality of life in specific rural communities across the Mountain West, largely through small, “immediate impact” projects, according to the organization’s website. Cortez is one of a handful of sites where LOR operates, along with: Taos, New Mexico; Lander, Wyoming; Monte Vista, Colorado; and Libby, Montana.
Recently, the LOR Foundation also donated $29,970 to Re-1 for 10 new bus radios, in order to improve connectivity between buses, the bus barn, and emergency services.
“I really appreciate them doing that,” said Re-1 school board vice-president Sherri Wright at a meeting June 29. “We need those radios.”