The Delaware County Intermediate Unit’s Don Guanella School is located just outside of Philadelphia in Springfield, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1960, the school serves students between the ages of 5 and 21 who have a variety of developmental disabilities. The school is a center-based program that offers a full day instructional program for both life skills support and emotional/learning support. The primary goal is to assist students in developing the necessary self-help, self-advocacy, and academic skills, as well as work habits, and pro-social behaviors necessary to be as independent and successful as possible.
As part of the school’s curriculum, art classes are an important component in achieving its mission. By participating, students are introduced to numerous art forms from fine arts to crafts including various concepts and techniques. In Fall 2009, the school’s art teacher, Dana Davis, began the new school year with a portraiture project inspired by two world famous abstract artists – Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. After viewing examples of each artist’s work, the students created portraits featuring Picasso’s cubism – abstract shapes with their faces seen from multiple viewpoints – and Matisse’s bright, colorful palette. Like all students, they are learning to embrace their creativity and uniqueness, both in their art and in themselves.