In spite of school budget cuts and slimming programs, the Sedona Arts Center’s School of the Arts just wrapped up a three-day Arts Immersion with middle-school students at West Sedona School. This year Vince Fazio, the director of the School of the Arts at the arts center partnered with the new Sedona YMCA (at Posse Grounds Teen Center) and the City of Sedona’s Artists. In the “Classroom Project,” students were able to approach aspect of their curriculum through the arts by engaging in five different art projects designed to be both educational and fun!
These amazing projects are built around the Character Counts program originally created by the Josephson Institute and the YMCA. The pillars of character are trustworthiness, responsibility, caring, respect, fairness and citizenship. The program itself is used nationwide to reinforce character traits that help to enrich individual lives and build a sense of community. For example, students made six mosaic tile banners with Delfina and Franco Valentini portraying the six character traits in one particular project. Those banners will be mounted of the pillars of the school cafeteria. Students also did a collage project where they identified the character traits in magazine images and collaged the images into their own cast shadow.
They didn’t stop there!
Each student also worked with Libby Caldwell to create a unique handmade book that included a short story on one of the character traits as the first entry in their book. They also creatively interpreted the traits through a dance project led by Eric Aglia. The fifth project is a film about the overall immersion project. Students will study the filmmaking process, take raw footage and conduct interviews. This footage will then be edited during the following week in the new Afterschool Film Club sponsored by a grant from the Sedona Community Foundation. The Afterschool Film Club at the YMCA Teen Center will meet to edit versions of the film on the theme of Art-making the week after the immersion. The sessions will be overseen by YMCA staff and taught by Ron Melmon and they will take place at the West Sedona School Digital Media Lab. Participants in the project will learn about using iMovie to edit film, creating a story with imagery, voice, text, graphics and music. The After School Film Club will continue after spring break at the YMCA with at least two other film projects on the themes of Nature and Imagination.
The arts are alive in Sedona and with our children thanks to the efforts of resourceful groups and your tax credits and donations. Sedona Arts Center continues the outreach programs at the local level to enrich the lives of our creative children. I look forward to working to help expand the programs and do my part at the arts center to nurturing creative discovery, learning and sharing through arts education and artistic development.
Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.
About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, teacher, marketing director and free thinker experiencing life in one of the most inspiring and picturesque places on earth with his fabulous wife and children.