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East High Students Turn School “Inside Out” with Photo Installation

East High School in Salt Lake City is widely known for being the film location of the Disney movie High School Musical. Now the public school is making its mark in the world of art. When the closing school bell rings Friday afternoon - a public art exhibit will be installed on an exterior wall of East High School. It’s intended to spark conversation about Utah’s cultural diversity, and it’s part of a global art project known as Inside Out.

Professional artist Jorge Rojas has been working closely with East High students this semester to create the We Are One Inside Out Project.

“What the public will see will be 100 portraits in black and white about three foot by five foot tall on the east facing wall on 13th East and 8th South to display what’s inside the school - therefore the Inside Out Project,” Rojas says. “So it will really be a mirror image of the diversity of students within the school walls.”

Rojas is an art history instructor taking part in a new program at East High in partnership with the Utah Humanities Council to prepare students for college who tend to be underserved in school. In class, Rojas introduced the students to the global public art project started by the French street artist JR. He says it was the students who had the idea to produce their own Inside Out project.

“They wanted to tell the world or tell our community that East High has changed. It just so happens that it’s also  the 100th year anniversary of East, so when you think about East - what it used to be and what it’s become – it’s now become 65 percent minority,” Rojas says. “So I hope it gets people talking about not only the change that has occurred at East, but that has occurred in Salt Lake City and Utah. It is kind of a microcosm statement to what’s really happening across the whole state.”

The We Are One Inside Out Project will be unveiled Saturday morning at 10:30.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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