A week-long summer program for elementary students that will encourage them to participate in and write about the arts
Contract Terms: National Endowment for the Arts
- Principal Investigator: Chris Crowe
This grant by the National Endowment for the Arts was awarded to Professor Chris Crowe for his unique summer arts camp. Named specifically as Arts Engagement in American Communities grant, it will be housed at Brigham Young University, in partnership with the Central Utah Writing Program. This summer arts camp has been created in an effort to combat declining funding for public school’s art programs. This week-long program for elementary-school-age children aims to provide an individualized art education experience. It is unique due to its intimate class size (no more than 20 students) and dual focus on art education and writing. Its setting on BYU campus will allow students to study the exhibitions in the Museum of Art and the Harris Fine Arts Center, as well as be taught by guest instructors from the local community with studio art experience. Trained writing instructors from the Central Utah Writing Program will supervise students as they write about the art collections and lessons. In this manner, students will be exposed to traditional and modern western art and learn how to write more concisely about these experiences.
Although many artists and art educators are rightfully concerned about the rapidly decreasing presence of art education in public school programs, it is difficult to find a solution that aptly replaces previous classroom programs, which frequently benefited from museum outreach programs. Art educators recognize the value of these interconnected elements, but it is a struggle to provide them in a cohesive manner outside the classroom setting to individual students who might be interested. The researcher’s approach allows for elementary students to obtain experience with different art mediums, an appreciation for the arts, and better writing skills, while being mentored by seasoned individuals who are passionate about their respective fields. This broad approach is appropriate for the young students that will be participating, combining all three elements into a succinct program that focuses on their hands-on experience. It makes the most of a short time-period, as the program is manageable in one week of half-day classes.
Art education is a decreasing priority in public schools, so there is a need for art education that is independent of the previous classroom structure. This summer camp provides a model for these students to apply as they pursue further art experiences and education, providing them the tools to understand art and describe their experiences. Each student will learn how to invest in art on an individual basis, with obvious positive repercussions for beginning their art education at a young age.
There are obvious positive repercussions for the students involved in this summer camp, these students will be equipped to seek out their own art experiences instead of relying on the public school classroom. The summer camp will also provide them tools to understand art and describe their experiences, creating an investment on each student’s individual level.