Compton Teacher Brings Heart and Art to Scholars at Davis Middle School
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May 8, 2018

Art enthusiast and teacher Ben Stanton of Davis Middle School and his students start each class with a mantra, “Peace, love, unity, respect and having fun. ART FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ART. We are family!” What happens from that point is an adventure in visual arts in which students explore a variety of forms. The class provides students with the opportunity to open up, connect with their inner artist, create together and make an impact in their community.

From painting murals to exploring textures in acrylic and patio paint, to digital photography, clay and designing skateboards, there are few types of materials that Mr. Stanton and class will not take on. The visual representations of art are not the only ways the students grow and expand their horizons.

“I want to provide students with the opportunity to be creative; to provide a platform for them to express their feelings and to find out who they are through art,” said Mr. Stanton.

Class themes include collaboration, creativity, empathy, critical thinking, leadership, creativity and service. In fact, service is a big part of what the students engage in as a part of the class. Recently, they created beautifully-designed sack-lunch bags for the homeless with messages of encouragement and inspiration. Mr. Stanton has also involved the students in mural projects at schools in Compton.

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“Mr. Stanton brings the gift of art with heart to his students,” said Satra Zurita, CUSD Board Vice President and Arts advocate. “The result is our students having the opportunity to express themselves, grow as individuals and confidently see themselves as creators.”

In 2017, Mr. Stanton created the Compton Plywood Project, in partnership with community organization Bridge to Skate, that has become quite popular. Starting with raw skateboard decks, the students sand them down, and apply their own unique designs. Projects such as the Compton Plywood Project earned Mr. Stanton recognition in 2017 as the 2016-17 “Life Changer of the Year” award winner.

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“I love watching the students discover different skills and talents they never know they had, some that could even lead to a profession,” Mr. Stanton shared. “What I’ve seen come from these students the last couple of years inspires me.”