We believe in the building, healing, mind-expanding and uniting power of the arts, particularly the visual arts, when experienced within a space of community and throughout the education of our youth.
A product of both this belief and our organization’s unique ability to support and through our experience and partnerships bring the actions of it to life, we expanded our organizational mission to establish and include the Victor Fund Projects. The Victor Fund Projects seek to empower and provide youth and emerging artists with the vital opportunity and access to arts education and the tools necessary to achieve their own success.
We established this first project of our mission expansion in 2015 through partnership with The Patrick Henry Downtown Academy and their art teacher, former Teach for America Corps member and Webster University BFA alumna, Carolyn Palmer Bryant. Each year we underwrite and provide the school's art program and its K-6 students an exhibition location for an annual show of student artwork, occurring parallel with a professional and/or collegiate art exhibition.
The exhibition itself provides the students with the valuable experience of developing and making unique creations for their show, as well as the pride and respect that comes from seeing one’s own work recognized and displayed for their friends, family and community to view.
Mentorship gallery talk with parallel exhibition artist(s)
The students are guided through the art exhibition in the larger gallery of the Arcade Contemporary Art Projects Space of Webster University’s downtown St. Louis Gateway Campus by the artist(s) premiering in the main gallery. This gallery talk with the artists themselves allows the students to hear about the background of the artist(s), the artistic process and ask questions or advice in an engaging and personalized discussion.
In March of 2017, the sixth grade students from Patrick Henry met with four Webster University student artists featured in a curated show in the main gallery. In our second year of partnership with Patrick Henry Downtown Academy and Mrs. Bryant, we have grown our efforts to present the students with the opportunity to experience working and talking with artists who represent various marginalized races and ethnicities. We have intentionally partnered their exhibition this year with Synecdoche, a curated Webster University student art exhibition featuring the artwork of marginalized student populations and students of color.
Patrick Henry Downtown Academy has an over 90% black student population and it is vital that their art education and exposure to the art world is representative of and truly relevant to their lives, and that they experience a reality in which they see that perspectives and works of people of all colors, ethnicities, creeds, gender, sexuality, age or sexual persuasion are valuable. and have power. It is important that they have role models to look up to and have questions of that look like them.
Art workshop with the working artist(s)
Working with art tools in a small group of other students with a college art student or a professional practicing artist is an engaging, eye-opening and validating experience for young students, regardless of whether or not they pursue further studies or a career in the arts. For many of these students, it is a one in a lifetime opportunity. Learning and doing any skill or practice with a professional is a transformational experience and it is vital that art is no longer a marginalized element of their education or sense of community. This opportunity and partnership hand the key of inspiration, critical thinking, innovation and tenderness of the human spirit to our youngest public school students.
Past Victor Projects
Sixth grade art students listening and learning (and touching and smelling eucalyptus saturated papers) during Krista Valdez's Santo Foundation Victor Projects artist talk regarding her performance art and photography in 2017's "Synecdoche."
Carolyn Bryant's sixth grader art students from Patrick Henry Downtown Academy play and pose in multi-media artist Quinton Ward's installation in "Synecdoche" Arcade Contemporary Art Projects at the end of their Victor Projects 2017 day with The Santo Foundation.
Roosevelt High School Art Teachers, Sara Haag-Turley and Michael Paradise, celebrate with their talented student artists on opening night at Arcade Contemporary Art Projects on Saturday, March 10, 2018. “Sublime Aspiration,” named by the student artists, is a Santo Foundation Victor Projects exhibition celebrating the vital and vibrant work of the emerging female artists of Roosevelt High School!
Roosevelt Senior art student, Jannah Adissa, is glowing, standing by a few of her portraiture works in "Sublime Aspiration," her first Santo Foundation group exhibition.