We are an alternative school in Newport News, Virginia. Our students are labeled “at risk” but our principal sees them as “at promise.” We do not have art or music classes except as clubs once a week, but these creative outlets are essential to the students’ emotional and intellectual development. Many of them are highly creative but have no access to materials or instruction. I am an English teacher who is also a trained artist; I run the art club each Friday. I have had to purchase all the materials with my own money: paints, brushes, markers, pencils, clay— everything. I would like to expose the students to different mediums and artistic experiences. We need much more of the above listed materials and possibly an inexpensive easel and large sketch pads. Their success in artistic expression leads to self confidence, self-understanding, and pride in their accomplishments.
Students will have full advantage of the artistic experience when we have the supplies. They will engage in painting (acrylic and water colors) still life, figure, and abstract projects. We will use pastels on newsprint to learn shading, light and shadow, texture. Modeling clay is another type of kinesthetic, hands-on experience that is known to enhance cognitive skills and emotional equilibrium. Students will experience success and enjoy the creative outlet.
These students have had few opportunities to engage in the arts due to the nature of our school: small, alternative, under-funded.
This program will make a big difference in their achievements; academically and in life.
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