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Inspiring and sobering in similar measure, this documentary by Pamela Sherrod Anderson focuses on Arthur Dixon Elementary School in Chatham, where principal Joan Dameron Crisler raised academic performance while making art a priority. Not only were impoverished students engaged and empowered through art classes, but Crisler developed a permanent collection of Afrocentric paintings and sculptures, which are displayed unprotected in the halls and respected by the student body. Anderson also broadens her narrative to include Sharon Dale, who became Dixon's principal when Crisler took a job mentoring other administrators, and Carol Briggs, who got her start as Crisler's assistant principal and struggles to develop a similar renaissance, stressing reading, as principal of Alfred D. Kohn School in Roseland. Their dedication is impressive, though end credits reveal how much their efforts have been defunded by an ailing Chicago school system.
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