The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:
How do artists work? How do artists determine what is effective and learn from trial and error?
Students that participated in Smart Art, Teen Workshops and virtual classroom sessions worked with a variety of art forms and engaged in experimentation, risk taking, innovation and self-expression. Students explored how artists work and generate ideas and make time for creative practice. These youth programs allowed students to create a bond with each other, appreciating the creativity of others and giving them a safe community to share their ideas. Students also were exposed to professional artists, engaging with them about their practice and daily life as an artist.
SVMoA’s goal is to advocate for and increase the understanding of the necessity of arts education. Arts education develops improvisational skills and self-expression, enhances confidence, teaches empathy and strengthens our ability to problem solve. Creativity is at the core of problem solving and problem solving is the foundation of a competitive and innovative work force, an entrepreneurial society and an engaged citizenry.
At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:
Students that engaged in Smart Art afterschool were creating new artistic work each week, often working with a professional guest artist on a particular artform. These students were challenged each week to try out a new art form and share their work with each other. It was wonderful to see them grow and support each other as a group of creative artists through our six weeks together.
Students who participated in our Teen Workshops worked directly with professional artists , focusing on visual art and performing art skill building, but also learning about the skills needed to work as a professional artist.
I experienced first-hand the impact of our newest program Smart Art on our community. As the 2020 school year approached it became apparent that programming that supported local youth was going to look different. Parents trusted our safety procedures and were eager for opportunities to engage their school aged children outside the limited school hours. Enrollment was an exciting mix of longstanding families and some who were new to our community. It was a joy to meet with these students over the course of six weeks and to introduce a variety of art forms and professional artists who shared their process and experience. It was clear that the students were craving social environments. One student arrived his first day determined to not engage, I was personally thrilled that by the third meeting he was engaging in some of the most dynamic art and that throughout the year we developed a relationship that allowed him to express himself creatively and develop positive relationships with other students. A handful of students completed all three sessions, and remained engaged in the work. Not only were the students craving more, but the parents also were committed to Smart Art and requested more sessions.
Due to the enthusiasm from parents and students we are committed to offering quality care and essential art education to youth in our community, in the form of our afterschool program Smart Art. We plan to run three 6-week sessions throughout the school year. We have decided to move this program to operate out of SVMoA’s Hailey Classroom, which allows participants to have access to a greater number of visual arts materials and art forms, while still providing the option to engage professional visual and performing artists as part of our learning outcomes. This space is better suited to host a group of students and has access to outdoor space that can be utilized for teaching and gathering. We will continue to advertise this program in English and Spanish and offer scholarships to make it as accessible as possible to everyone in our community.
In addition to our afterschool program our Teen Workshops will continue throughout the year with plans to offer one workshop a month covering a variety of art forms including painting, sketching and photography. The one challenge of these workshops has been finding a variety of professional artists, with experience teaching students. We will engage regional and local artists in this program.