Celebrate the work of Austin elementary students

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John Hay Community Academy will unveil its first “Dream Space” and other student-driven public art projects May 22 with a public reception from 5 to 7 p.m.  at 1018 N. Laramie.

Named “Dream BIG,” the suite of projects includes a lobby mural, an alcove exhibition gallery and a functional “Dream Space” public art installation located in the school’s library.

The Dream Space is the culmination of Changing Worlds and Dream’s Chicago pilot program, “The Dream Trust.”

Led by Changing Worlds teaching artist Carron Little, students collaborated with video artist Jim Poole, fabric artist Ruth Patzloff and designer/builder Norman Teague to conceive and create Dream BIG.

This project promises to be a launching ground for dreaming courageously without limits, inspiring the entire school and broader community to engage freely and fully with their dreams.

Visitors to the dream space will be greeted by mixed-media installations
designed to engage the mind, hearts and imagination of participants.

Special touches inspired by the participating students’ own dreams, as well as their desire to support and encourage the dreams of others, abound.

These include a student-produced video, a repository for collecting individual dreams and fabric art installations. The latter include pockets the students sewed by hand, each filled with surprises, tokens and words of encouragement.

Dream BIG is the result of a creative collaboration between Hay and its middle school students participating in “The Dream Trust,” a pilot partnership between the school and two local organizations, Changing Worlds and Dream Chicago.

A cadre of teaching and practicing local artists, school leadership and educators, and community parents and caregivers contributed to the project’s success.

“We are excited to be part of this inaugural effort that so creatively supports and empowers students to pursue their dreams,” said Hay Principal Wayne Williams.

“The middle school years are critical to awakening dreams, building youth confidence, and developing strategies of focus and persistence to bridge middle to high school success.”

The space will be “open for dreaming” during select hours of the school day, and evolve to host a variety of ongoing programming, events and master classes.

Each will be designed to catalyze and connect dreamers to people, paths, and other resources that support educational attainment and future career success.

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