an Arts Integration Program for At-Risk Teens
Created in 1989, Arts Council Silicon Valley’s ArtsConnect program provides professional arts instruction for at-risk teens through in-depth artist residencies. These residencies are conducted in partnership with the Alternative Schools Department of the Santa Clara County Office of Education, including Juvenile Hall. On average, the program affects more than 500 local teens each year, nearly 15,000 throughout its history. Since the program’s inception, it has become the largest provider of arts education for at-risk teens in the region.
Participants are teens, ages 13-18, who attend an alternative school. The Alternative Schools provide educational programs for students who are under court supervision or who are not attending regular school for a variety of reasons. Most are from very low income situations. Most have performed poorly in traditional school and have failed or dropped out. Many have engaged in criminal activity. Many no longer live with their families.
ArtsConnect gives these teens the rare opportunity of working with a professional artist and learning to tap into their own creativity. The professional artists are screened, selected, and trained by the Arts Council; and placed in various school sites administered by the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Requests vary from site to site, but in general teaching artists work with students in structured 1 to 2-hour classes, once or twice a week, over a 4 to 6-week period for normal placements. For long-term placements, teaching artists are in residence for three months or longer.
Through ArtsConnect, students explore and learn a number of different types of arts disciplines. Each of the individual arts classes imparts significant and unique effects on participants:
- Drama: Participants read, understand, rehearse and perform dialogue – leading to increased skills in oral language, writing, critical thinking, and decision-making, as well as structured learning.
- Dance: Participants learn and explore movement and different types of dances – leading to development of visual-spatial skills and improved reading skills.
- Music: Participants sing, perform, compose music and lyrics, record their own work and even create illustrations for album covers – leading to enhanced verbal memory and mental imagery, as well as improved math skills.
- Visual Arts: Participants explore painting, drawing, sculpture, and mixed media, learning how to focus energy to create something beautiful and unique from start to finish – leading to improved social interaction, increased diversity of activities, and productive engagement.
At the end of the school year, an exhibit of students’ work are mounted at prestigious local museums – a rare privilege, which even professional artists struggle to achieve. The students were invited to the museum for a presentation and awards ceremony, where they took pride in having their work on display in a real museum.
Alternative Placement Academy | Lori Kay
Blue Ridge High School @ James Ranch | Lori Kay and Ehud Krauss
Muriel Wright School | Gertrud Turner
Odyssey Community School | Pablo Viramontes
Osborne School @ Juvenile Hall | Judy Gittlesohn
Snell Community School | Gertrud Turner
Edge School @ Sunol Community | Pablo Viramontes
Student artwork from the current year will be on display at Santa Clara's Triton Museum of Art throughout the month of May. For museum hours and directions, please visit the Triton website at www.tritonmuseum.org or call the gallery at (408) 247-2438 for more information.
For more information, please contact:
Connie Martinez | Executive Director
408-200-2020 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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