Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.
- G. K. Chesterton
Since September 4th of this year, I've had the privilege of being the art instructor for the stupendously amazing 9th-12th grade students of the Chesterton Academy, in Edina, Minnesota (the West Minneapolis area).
This delightful private Catholic high school was started as a grass-roots movement of parents. The school opened its doors in the fall of 2008 with just ten students; the following year it had twenty. In its third year, it had forty-two students. This year, over eighty students are enrolled, and the school is drawing national and even international attention. Chesterton Academy was just named one of the Top 50 Catholic High Schools in the United States by the Cardinal Newman Society.
Chesterton Academy "strives to offer a classical curriculum, one that draws on the great Western traditions of faith and reason wielded in concert" as part of "a meaningful education in an authentically Catholic environment". This includes a classical approach to art, where every student - in all four years - learns traditional methods of painting and drawing, art appreciation and art history from the cave art of Lascaux, to Egypt, Greece and Rome on up to the present day.
Our classical approach to studio art involves drawing and painting from real life, using a variety of objects and "casts" as visual references. As our program has grown, our need for casts and other art supplies has expanded as well.
A simple plaster sculpture cast.
One miraculous hallmark of the Chesterton Academy has been their continual ability to accomplish so much with so little. Their frugality is a virtue, because one fundamental goal of CA has been to make the classical education they offer as reasonably priced as possible, so as to keep it within reach of as many families as possible.
So there is a great opportunity, for those interested in encouraging young artists, to contribute in a substantial way that will be of immediate and direct help to these art students. Contributions of art supplies - like the plaster cast above, or drawing and painting materials - are tax deductible, and the Chesterton Academy (501c3) will provide a letter acknowledging your donation for that purpose.
But mostly, it's a great chance to be a part of this joyful and growing revolution in education.
Thank you!! Please e-mail me (link in left-hand column) or post a comment and I will be in touch with more information. Meanwhile, here are some useful links for your perusal (but we will be very grateful for any kind of assistance you can offer!).
or, you can very simply donate directly to the Chesterton Academy;