Remember the first classroom you walked into? Several of my first classrooms had no desks, just tables and books and a large, wide sitting area. Later, it was just your typical run-of-the-mill square or rectangular room with desks aligned in a grid pattern with the teacher’s desk in front and off to the side. I never had a class take place outside until high school — even though it was a one-time thing — but Architecture for Humanity in Denver is seeking to raise funds via Kickstarter to turn a museum parking lot into an outdoor classroom for at-risk and disadvantaged children.
The goal of Denver’s Museo de las Americas is to educate the community about the diversity of Latin American art and culture — from ancient to contemporary — via innovative programs and exhibitions. The problem is that the museum lacks any extra space necessary for its arts education youth summer camp that has become progressively popular over the years. During the summer camp, children are educated about and take part in dance, music, theatre and visual art activities, and share them with their local communities.
The new design will be able to also be used for community events, will involve the construction of a permanent fence, gate, and surface, plus a temporary overhead canopy for shade during the summer months, while still providing a view of the sky and nearby mountain views. Most of the construction materials to be used for the museum’s outdoor classroom are salvaged from another building that is being demolished. It can also still be used for parking when it’s not used as a classroom. The Museo de las Americas summer program started due to the following disappointing facts: 85% of the disadvantaged youth in Denver are Latino, and the dropout rate for Latino youth is at 37%. The aim of the summer program is to:
“Teach art as a tool for fostering self-esteem in children and as a vehicle for encouraging understanding of Latino culture among all.”
If you wish to learn more about the museum’s campaign and then donate to the cause, click HERE.