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Arts Commission

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Arts Commission - Page Text Content

S: Youth Learning Institute 2012

BC: This program is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

FC: Youth Learning Institute | 2012

1: Youth Learning Institute | 2012

2: Forward | A widely held belief among those who work with at-risk youth is that the absence of expressive arts as a way to engage the imagination and creativity of underperforming students robs us of a true picture of their potential to succeed. Youth who have not been successful in traditional academic environments sometimes surprise us when we learn that they are talented at painting, photography, dance, or music. Once that talent is discovered, their exposure to new and previously untapped means of self-expression can dramatically increase their self-confidence. In fact, research now validates the impact of the arts not only on self-esteem, but on academic achievement as well. Consider the following findings from a recent article published by the National Endowment for the Arts, which chronicles the results of four longitudinal studies on arts and their impact on at-risk youth (Catterell, James, Dumais, Susan, Hampden-Thompson, Gilliam-March 2012): These findings suggest that in-school or extracurricular arts engagement may actually help narrow the achievement gap between youth of high and low socioeconomic status. Since 2008, Clemson University's Youth Learning Institute has been engaged in an innovative partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission to provide arts programming in two of its flagship programs for at-risk youth: The Youth Development Center in Aiken, and the New Horizons Family Center in Summerton. The Youth Development Center serves non-violent juvenile offenders (male and female) diverted from the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. The New Horizons Family Center serves teen mothers and their babies, who have been referred by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. A variety of arts modalities—including photography, poetry, music, dance, yoga and body movement, sculpture, sewing and clothing design—have been explored with teen residents in both programs. | * Socially and economically disadvantaged children and teens with high levels of arts engagement show more positive outcomes in the area of grades, high school graduation rates, college enrollment, volunteerism and engagement in school and community. * At-risk teens with a history of intensive arts engagement show achievement levels closer to, and in some cases exceeding, the levels shown by the general adolescent population.

3: Susan Alford, Director The Girls Center | This book reflects the art created in 2012. Male and female residents at the Youth Development Center created wire and wood sculptures. Females were also engaged in a series of watercolor painting classes, and exhibited their work for YLI staff, community members and supporters from the Aiken area. Girls and boys participated in music classes, using Djembe drums and working in sync to create percussion rhythms. Teen mothers at the New Horizons Family Center created a community quilt around the theme of What Home and Family Means to Me. This quilt not only allowed many teen moms who were raised in foster care to express their hopes around the kind of family they want to create for their own children, but also engaged the girls in a storytelling and bonding experience. Quilting together provided a strong sense of teamwork, artistic expression, stress reduction, skill development and friendship. Artists who bring out the best in our students are the ones who are technically competent in their own medium and emotionally connected to our kids. Each experience inspires confidence as students learn to explore their emotions and express themselves in positive ways. We owe a debt of gratitude to the wonderful, caring artists who have worked with our young people throughout 2012: Lee Ann Kornegay (drumming), Mickey McMaster (wire and wood sculpture), Zenobia Washington (quilting) and Kerrin Hopper (painting). As you review the contents of this book, we hope you will be inspired by the potential that our students demonstrate as they explore their feelings and capabilities through art. We also hope that you will become convinced, as we are, that engaging at-risk youth in the arts is one of the most creative ways to find the gold that is often buried just beneath the surface.

4: "Drumming classes are designed to provide creative ways to re-channel negative energy, diffuse anger and build team spirit through the power of percussion. What I've seen from the people who do learn the rhythm is they realize they can do something that they never would have believed they could have done. Something clicks that makes them feel more confident and better about themselves. There are many life metaphors in drumming. Drumming brings people to life" -Randy Harp, Drums Not Guns Program

7: "Next to my parents getting divorced, losing my best friend in a car accident with a drunk driver was the hardest thing I ever dealt with. Everything at Camp Long has a reason behind it, even the art classes. Woodworking was my favorite! I made a plaque in memory of my best friend." -Jordan, YDC student

8: The Quilt of Life As a knot appears unexpectedly in a thread So disappointment blocks the smoothness of life If a few deft strokes can untangle the skein, life continues evenly, But if it cannot be corrected, then it must be quietly woven into the design. Thus the finished piece can still be beautiful Although not exactly as planned. -Anonymous

10: "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." Edgar Degas

12: “I believe there's an artist in everyone. Troubled youth have locked-up potential that needs to be brought out. I learned so much from them! I watched girls who were quiet and barely smile just blossom!” -Kerrin Hopper

15: "Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye, it also includes the inner pictures of the soul." -Edward Munch

17: "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." Albert Einstein

18: “At first, I didn't think I could do watercolors. But now, I know that if I get angry, I can take my anger out with the paint and create something pretty.” –Diamond, YDC Student

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