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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Helping Children Cross Cultural Boundaries in the Borderlands: Arts Program at Freese Elementary in San Diego Creates Cultural Bridge


This article describes the unique multicultural arts program that has developed at Freese Elementary School, located only 20 minutes from the United States-Mexico border, in the southeastern corner of the San Diego Unified School District. The Arts and Culture Magnet Program at Freese grew out of the need build bridges in a neighborhood where rapid demographic change had created explosive tensions. The magnet program teaches visual and performing arts, literacy, and social studies through in-class artist residencies, workshops, field trips, and assemblies that have been developed in collaboration with local arts organizations. Through the arts, Freese has become a bright and cheery school where children are busy learning, an island of hope in a neighborhood beset by conflict.

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