Over the years our school has participated in various art projects through our "Artist-in-Residence Program." With funding provided by the state, grants, PTO fundraisers, and private donations we have had a variety of artists teach art to a core group each year. The core group consists of eight classrooms that spend several hours a week over the period of the residency learning the art skill being taught by the artist. Some of the artists that have worked with our school in the past have taught our students modern interpretive dance, mosaic tile art, photographic mosaic art, African dance, tie dye techniques, and Japanese Taiko Drumming.
For the past 2 years The Odaiko Sonora Taiko Drumming Group has taught our students Japanese Taiko Drumming. This program provides students with a wide variety of music experiences that are fun and enriching. A total of 16 classrooms have participated in this program during the past two years. As a culminating activity students have performed in two concerts for the school and for the community. The Odaiko Sonora Taiko web page highlights the Taiko Drumming program at our school.
In 2004 DeGrazia Elementary School students had the privilege of unveiling the DeGrazia School mural. Students worked with local artist Steve Farley on the project. Steve is well-known to Tucsonans as the artist who gathered personal photos from the Tucson community and turned them into those historic photographic tile murals around the Broadway Underpass in downtown Tucson. Our school mural design was a collaboration of the artist and a core team of 18 students in the fourth through sixth grades. Students took photographs from around the campus. These photographs were used to make individual tiles which together made the entire mural. All 580 students were given the opportunity to paint a portion of the mural. A core team mentored each child in the process of creating their own section of the project. The final outcome was a mosaic of 450 images painted on 8” x 8” canvas and pieced together. It was a tremendous undertaking, as it stands 10’ x 20’ and is displayed on the outdoor stage so that all who come to DeGrazia can enjoy it.
Renowned Tucsonan mosaic tile artist, Alex Garza, spent one semester in our school teaching our students mosaic art. The mosaics below are the results of the student work and are proudly displayed though out our campus. There are more mosaics from our session with Mr. Garza that are not pictured on this page but you can see around our campus.
Students engage in learning the techniques of Japanese Taiko Drumming.