Luis Castillo painted bright designs on his clay pot before planting succulents and accenting the planter with wire and natural material at on East Lake Avenue.
The senior is one of the 244 students in Alice Carr's MOSAIC program, the Academy of Arts small learning community. Thursday, 50 of the students visited Sierra Azul to be inspired by the . The teenagers each decorated a flower pot, then planted a trio of succulents in their artwork.
"They're just great. They've been engaged the whole time," said Jean Beebe, with the .
PVAC and nursery owners Jeff and Lisa Rosendale sponsored the field trip.
"I didn't even know this place existed until today," Castillo said. He liked how the Rosedales integrated plants "from everywhere" with the art.
Carr's grant-funded arts academy is in its fourth year. The sophomores, juniors and seniors take classes in visual arts, drawing, painting and 3D design or digital photo. The students invited to the nursery Thursday are those with an interest in 3D art.
"My focus for my students is careers in the arts," Carr said. "The research on academies shows more students graduate and attend college."
MOSAIC's curriculum is designed to broaden students' experiences. This fall, kids visited the DeYoung gallery in San Francisco and, next month, will take a trip to the San Jose State campus. They also work with PVAC, which runs an art gallery a few blocks from the high school.
"This collaboration is just fantastic," Beebe said, referring to Thursday's art class in the garden. "This is exactly what we're trying to do."
One of the goals of Thursday's endeavor was to teach students to value their work. The flower pots will be tagged and displayed in the high school office, and students have the option of selling their work. The proceeds will be split between a scholarship fund for MOSAIC graduates and the student artist.
"My passion is these kids and helping them succeed in a creative field because it's in their hearts," Carr said.