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Gates Chili students learn about advocacy through art

Students at Walt Disney Elementary School are learning how to use their voices to advocate for things they believe in – and they’re gaining recognition for their efforts. 


The City of Rochester’s Animal Services department sent a thank-you letter to students in Kelly Hanning’s art classes at Walt Disney after the young artists shared some of their works calling for animal rights and encouraging compassion for animals. 


Hanning was awarded a grant in 2020 to develop a curriculum based on social justice and art activism. Disney students in grades 3-5 studied artists who had advocated for social causes, researched topics that they found important, and created artwork based on their research. The final step was to send the artwork to lawmakers and officials as an act of advocacy. Hanning said some students chose to create pieces advocating for animal justice causes.  


The letter from the City of Rochester Animal Services department to the students thanks them for their thoughtfulness and compassion, stating, “[K]eep up the wonderful work, and never be afraid to let your voices be heard and your art be seen when something is important to you.” 


Pictured below: some of the advocacy artwork by Walt Disney students


poster with a fox that says no fur farms  poster with several wild animals and trees that says save the animals  poster of a brown dog that says adopt us