Grand Valley’s Super Rad Art Jam helps students with creative outlets
to promote the arts and give local children more opportunities to express creativity, a group of Grand Valley residents joined forces 10 years ago to form what would become Super Rad Art Jam.
Back then Naomi Barlow, Jason Lee Bradham, Bryan Wade, Jess Rigg, along with several others, hosted an art show benefiting area art students, which became an annual event.
Over the years, the show continued to morph into an arts-focused nonprofit, which has aided more than 4,000 student artists in after-school programs over the last decade. It now boasts a yearly operating budget of around $10,000, and only $1,500-2,500 comes from grants each year. The rest is collected through local fundraising efforts.
“Arts education promotes critical thinking skills,” Barlow said. “It creates unique problems that have unique solutions that won’t happen again.”
Now Super Rad Art Jam works closely with Mesa County Valley School District 51 art teachers to provide students with increased access to art instruction. It also provides students with access to art workshops and exhibits outside of regular school curriculum.
“It’s important for these students to have a voice,” Barlow explained.
As part of the program, more than 150 students display their work at Mesa Mall (2424 Highway 6, Grand Junction) each spring. It gives students experience in displaying artwork, exposure to a wide demographic of locals, and selling art pieces. Plus, it gives participating students much-needed volunteer hours.
During the annual exhibit at Mesa Mall, participating students also have the chance to compete in 18 award categories, including best of show. Trophies are constructed by Super Rad Art Jam students, too.
According to Barlow, many students participate in Super Rad’s annual Mural Jam as well. It’s hosted at a different Grand Junction skatepark (there are three) each year and starts with a skateboard competition. Throughout the day, mural artists paint at the park in partnership with the City of Grand Junction. Super Rad art is additionally showcased at Central Library’s teen center in Grand Junction.
MORE ON SUPER RAD
As it continues to grow, Super Rad Art Jam hopes to provide more scholarships, workshops and events for Grand Valley students interested in the arts each year. It is currently raising funds for the annual art show and continuing-education sponsorship for teens and young adults.
“It’s important to have this outlet to keep kids out of trouble,” Barlow said. “It gives them purpose and focus.”
No Coast Sushi recently held a “Give Back” night, where 20 percent of sales (which amounted to $1,000) were donated to Super Rad Art Jam. That money helped fund a trip for 25 students to visit Anderson Ranch, located in Snowmass Village, and Aspen Art Museum in Aspen.
Anderson Ranch also provided four full scholarships for Super Rad students to attend a full week of art workshops. That included attendance of one chaperon, and the cost of an off-campus condo for the stay. Super Rad is currently working to raise another $1,000 to cover additional student expenses for the trip.
For more information, visit http://www.superradartjam.com.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
AS OF THURSDAY, OCT. 21