By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Ray Elementary School hired Lori Dana as its new art teacher. The decision to hire the teacher was based partly on a survey issued to the community from the school’s local school council (LSC).
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) budget cuts left only room for one arts education teacher and the LSC at Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., couldn’t decide whether to hire an art or music teacher so it opened the decision up to parents and community members.
“We went with the arts teacher,” said Toni Hill, interim principal at Ray.
“The surveys gave us good feedback,” Gordon Mayer, chairman of the Ray LSC, said. “They were helpful but most responses came from in-house.”
Lori Dana, who taught at Ward Elementary School in the Humboldt Park neighborhood before coming to Ray, spent more than 20 years as a working artist and design professional. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in metalsmithing with a minor in design from Northern Illinois University. She received her teaching certification from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
Dana will work with students from kindergarten to 7th grade on drawing; color, mixing and theory and some clay sculpture. The following semester, Dana plans to work with students on more advanced techniques such as painting, found object sculpture and paper constructions.
“We will also be covering some art appreciation and art history, as well as helping students recognize art and artists in their communities,” said Dana. She said she believes that the arts enhance students’ quality of life, and that integrating the arts with other school subjects can deepen students’ understanding of everything they study.