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Arts Renaissance for Local Youth

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A beginning arts appreciation program called Arts Renaissance has started for the after-school Title 1 third graders held at Sunset, Will Rogers, Washington, and Roosevelt Elementary Schools. With sponsorship coming from the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Shortgrass Arts and Humanities Council, the Arts Renaissance will be a popular experience for the children.


The Renaissance Arts instructor is Mindy Smiley. Smiley worked with retired Altus High School Art Instructor Doug Dalton to design educational projects that would be creative and entertaining. Smiley’s teaching will incorporate discussion, demonstrations, lectures, visuals, and hands-on experiences in developing the students’ personal interests and talents. Her creative, cultural art projects are focusing on the “Arts Around the World”.


The session themes will be the arts of famous artists and their style, and the children will practice that style by doing a specific project. Each session begins with a representative art form, the history of this art form, and how it relates to the children. The art projects are simple but fun, and provide the students the opportunity for self-expression. The children are introduced to a variety of art materials with emphasis on using recycled materials and techniques based upon the arts of the different artists of the past. The art projects will include pencil drawings, paper crafts, printmaking,


watercolors, and sculpture during the 24 sessions among the schools.


“By completing the creative arts, the students are learning to achieve and feel good about themselves and others,” said Smiley. “We hope to see an improvement in their performance in creative expression and hopefully their desire to learn more about cultural arts through this enrichment program.”


The students will have help from teachers Cathy Madl from Sunset, Debra Mardis and Julie Harris from Will Rogers, Denise Barton from Washington, Jan Wills at Roosevelt, and Title 1 Director Esther Reyes.


Another aspect of the art program will be the involvement of volunteers who make the program successful. USAF volunteer Brittany Calvetti, SWODA Title V literacy assistant Judy Miller, and Doug and Earnesteen Dalton of Friendship assist whenever possible with the after-school art program.


“This is one facet of the arts and humanities for young artists in our community,” stated Shortgrass Arts and Humanities Council President President Russell Weber, “that our organization gives financial support and leadership, plus several annual events and performances for people of all ages.”


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