A unique school whose student body is all unhoused is about to get a little bigger.
The Monarch School Project in Barrio Logan will spend the next three days celebrating the opening of The Chrysalis, the school’s center for the arts.
“Our students need this. They asked for it. They want a space to create and here we are now,” smiled School President and CEO Afira DeVries. “This work is about healing above everything else.”
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The Chrysalis is a 6,000-square-foot gallery and theater space that’s a short seven-minute walk from Monarch’s main building. DeVries said it will host student-run shows, art classes, and galleries featuring student and professional artwork.
“Our families and these students are an inspiration to us. We don’t do anything for them. We do everything with them,” added DeVries.
The roughly 300 Monarch students all come from families that are unhoused. DeVries said that every day struggle can be very hard on a child. Art allows them to express themselves when they can’t find the words.
“They’re my paintings but I like to call them my emotions,” said 6th grader Max as she pointed to one of her pieces hanging on the walls. The painting looked like Bart Simpson’s head was distorted.
Max called the work ‘Broken.'
“Somebody that I actually really, really care about passed away. So, I was broken,” she explained.
She said art was a way to escape her problems. It also helped her explain her problems.
“Art is a vehicle for expression that is therapeutic in ways that words can’t achieve so often,” concluded DeVries.
The Chrysalis will be open Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m. for the ‘Flutter Fest Community Event.' The Metamorphosis Exhibition will be open Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. Both days are free and open to the public.
Friday will conclude the dedication with a cocktail reception from 6 to 9 p.m., which requires registration.