The Curators of Dixon School

Project Status: 

Awards & Honors:

Winner of Official Selection at the 2012 Black Harvest Film Festival. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3 stars.

The May 22 screening was part of the annual benefit of the Zonta Club of Evanston, a worldwide organization of executives in business and the professions working together to advance the status of women. Funds raised will be used to benefit local women centered organizations.

Curators of Dixon School was also praised by Jacki Lyden of National Public Radio, Rick Kogan of the Chicago Tribune and WBEZ, and the Huffington Post.

Synopsis“The Curators of Dixon School” is a powerful story about lessons learned when art is at the heart of education.

Dixon Elementary School, a public school on Chicago’s South Side, rejects the institutional atmosphere of public schools in challenging communities. Instead, educators at Dixon replaced beige walls with colorful works of art, and priceless sculptures are in the hall among the students’ lockers.

In inner city Chicago, a creative brand of school leadership is changing the picture in urban education.

Institutional beige walls, metal detectors at the door, security guards on patrol, toe-to-toe shouting between adults and students. That’s the typical image people have of an inner city public school.

But at Dixon Elementary Public School on Chicago's South Side, a very different picture is being painted and art is part of the everyday lesson plan. Dixon's plan includes a community of artists giving their time and works to the school; a museum-quality African and African-American art collection started by its former school principal; and a creative brand of school leadership passed down from one principal to the next.

Lessons learned at Dixon are also being applied at the struggling Kohn Elementary School on Chicago’s South Side, where educators try to bring the successful elements of Dixon into Kohn's world. With funding cuts and a large number of at-risk students, it's an uphill battle to climb. "The Curator At Dixon" followed both schools over two years. The result is a poignant and captivating look at what it takes to change the picture in urban education.