Joshua Wiener + La Academia at Denver Inner City Parish

Elevating Nature: The Germination of Ideas
Exhibition: opens May 14; continues through June 5, 2009
Learning LabsLa Academia at Denver Inner City Parish

Creative Resident Joshua Wiener will work with a group from La Academia a school apart of Denver Inner City Parish.  The students will create their own living sculptures that build upon the ideas and forms of Wiener’s Floating Garden series. During his residency he will continue working on his living art series that inverts the typical garden to sculpture relationship.  This living art series is about looking at the environment and finding ways to be caretakers. Using salvaged materials, he is driven to improve biodiversity in urban space and creating sculptures designed to have a living skin. Working with traditional techniques of stone carving, he constructs living sculptures with internal irrigation that allows the cultivation of plant materials. The work becomes a combination of construction and subtractive sculpting, with man-made and natural materials. The project’s intent is to inspire imaginative stewards of the land.

La Academia at the Denver Inner City Parish is a private, non-profit school located in West Denver serving 80 sixth through twelfth grade low-income students. Founded in 1971, La Academia has addressed the educational and social needs of at-risk youth.  The average student at La Academica is Latino/a and lives in poverty. 98% of our student body qualifies for Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program. A Latina student starting ninth grade at La Academia has nearly three times the chance to graduate from high school and sixteen the times the chance of going to college compared to her public school counterparts. The Colorado Children’s Campaign Report detailed a four-year study, which found that 65% of Latinos in Colorado who began 9th grade dropped out of high school. During the same period 70% of La Academia’s 9th graders graduated. The study also indicated that only 13.5% of Latinos attend college. In the last five years, 75% of La Academia graduates attended college.