[ Available in Spanish: " Proyectos para Niños del Barrio " ]

© 2000 Patricia Jane St. John Danko


Patricia Jane Danko is well known for her many and diverse projects with inner city children and adolescents. 

She has received many fellowships and grants in support of her work, including a five-year endowed chair at Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, supported by I Have a Dream Foundation and the Houston ISD's Middle School Initiative Funds;

a two-year position in which, as Art Director for the Houston Adventure Play Association, she designed and implemented an art and theater program at the Houston Adventure Playground; an Impact II Developer Grant from Exxon Corporation; numerous small project grants from the Houston Business Committee for Educational Excellence;and most recently, a Title VII Federal Grant for her project, "Chicks on the Wire."

In addition to residencies through Young Audiences of Houston, she has created many community outreach programs, including those she designed and implemented for the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Zoo, the Orange Show Foundation, Medyko Productions, the Galveston Mardi Gras Munchkins' Parade, and many more.

Like You / Como Tu

Her art therapeutic work with children is documented as part of the PBS television production, “The Orange Show Concert Series for Children.” 

Jane's latest project, "Chicks on the Wire." is an art therapeutic program funded by the federal Title VII Enrichment Program, Caminos Bilingues al Exito/Bilingual Pathways to Success.

The purpose of this bilingual program is to assist inner-city Hispanic adolescent girls in developing an awareness of self within the actual context of their own lives, and to help them become accomplished and adept in their own self-analysis and self-knowledge processes, in their capabilities, in their

communication skills, and in the social and cognitive skills necessary to become participating, satisfied members of society, with goals and hopes for and confidence in the future.

Chicks on the Wire

Using puppets and masks that each girl makes for herself and then uses as an alter ego, any and all topics pertaining to conflict in the girls’ personal, social, and academic lives are open for discussion.

The girls, using their puppets and masks, present ongoing discussion circles, led from behind a cardboard “privacy stage.” 

In this way, the girls are released from the constrictions of reality, and may act out and discuss their problems with “anonymity.”

All members of Chicks have signed a confidentiality agreement in which they have agreed that topics discussed in Chicks will not be disclosed outside of the meetings. 

 From time to time, parents and friends are invited for special presentations by the girls, in which the girls act out specific problems with conflict resolution, using their masks and puppets.

The girls are assisted in an analysis of the demographic, economic, academic, and social contexts in which they find themselves.

Hansel and Gretal

Then, looking at this data and projecting both short and long-range goals for themselves, they draw conclusions as to how to deal successfully with their lives from within their personal life contexts .

Taking a break !!!!!!

They relate details to the larger scope and sequence of their lives, and attempt to understand the effects their own actions and nonactions can cause.

Making the Enchanted Tree
for "Hansel and Gretal"

Conversations with Death  / Pláticas con la Muerte

A project for Day of the Dead / Día de los Muertos

They analyze their own individual points of view, as well as the prevailing points of view in their family, their peer group, their neighborhood, and in the wider contexts of the city and country in which they live.

Making the Ofrenda -- The Ofrenda installed at Lawndale

They are given the skills necessary to recognize propaganda and persuasive techniques, and to distinguish fact from nonfact in their daily lives, including those related to the opposite sex, crime, gangs, and drugs.

Kids Teaching Kids

They compare and contrast and then analyze the motives behind the different points of view encountered in their daily lives.

They generate, discuss, and compare different ways of navigating their lives in response to the contexts in which they live, generalizing from both their own prior knowledge and their new analyses in order to evaluate and make judgements about what they need to do in order to predict positive outcomes in their own lives.

Because of Columbus

Throughout this process, a metacognitive awareness is fostered in the girls through constant analysis of the skills and processes they are using, so that these skills will transfer to all parts of their lives, and continue through their academic careers and their lives after school.


Jane's work with children and adolescents has been and continues to be, for her, more than a "day job" with which to supplement her income as an artist and writer.

With the realization, upon the death of her husband, that she would have to work outside her studio in order to support herself, Jane consciously decided to look for work that would be meaningful.


           She returned to the University of Houston to obtain the advanced degrees that would formally qualify her for the work she already knew she loved:  using art to help the children and adolescents in her own inner-city neighborhood make contact with themselves and their own creativity, and then to use that creativity to become better adjusted and better functioning members of their family, school, and society.

© 2000 Patricia Jane St. John Danko

çTEXT Site Map :

Amended Iconographies

Painting Galleries
Drawings Galleries
Prints Galleries
Sculpture Galleries
Masks Galleries

For a Galician
Songs Of Joy & Sorrow
Songs Of Childhood

Pretend Diva

Projects For Kids

Diseñada Para
800 x 600