Art After-School: A successful
way to reach youth in your neighborhood, was written as a guide, training, and
reference book on after-school programming for children and teenagers.
This book is based on years of experience seeing the positive
impact an after-school program can have on young people, particularly
in high crime areas. The primary focus of Art After School
is to affirm how after-school art programming can offer a new
dimension to intervention and prevention for at-risk youth, especially
when presented during those hours when young people commit or
are victims of crime.
Second, after-school art programs go beyond their walls to build
partnerships with schools (elementary through college level),
public and private agencies, and businesses to form a network
of support and growth that can strengthen the entire community.
Through a network of partnerships, new paradigms develop to stabilize
and enrich communities.
Why include the
arts in after-school programming?
Art After School focuses on using the arts and professional
artists to broaden the worlds of young people, build their self-esteem,
ignite creativity, develop life skills, reinforce academics and
offer alternatives to inactivity. Art is easily combined with
sports, homework help and other after-school activities in a
variety of settings to reach more at-risk youth by providing
them additional alternatives to the dangers and enticements of
Art After School
is a resource to help you structure a program and keep it running.
It was written as a user-friendly resource to help after-school
program staff easily understand organization concepts and finance
fundamentals, including strategies, and examples on how to implement
them. Many studies validate the need for after-school programming
and the benefits of participation in the arts for young people.
Art After School can help after-school programs begin and flourish
in neighborhoods anywhere. The concept is adaptable to stand-alone
centers and established programs.
Art After School
Jane Brite and Marlene Jaglinski have over 20 years of experience
working with children and young adults in professional and volunteer
positions. As Director of Walkers Point Center of the Arts in 1987,
Brite initiated Hands On a free after-school and summer art program
for the primarily low-income, under-served and at-risk children
and teenagers in the Walkers Point neighborhood of Milwaukee.
Hands On classes were held several days per week after-school
and for six weeks during the summer months. Brites 30 years
of experience in the arts in Milwaukee and other cities allowed
her access to professional national and local artists to work
with students at the art center and in collaboration with area
businesses and schools. Hands On grew to serve as many as 1,500
children and young adults annually through arts programming.
Marlene Jaglinski was Administrator at Walkers Point Center for the Arts for several
years. She brought corporate experience from Continental Can
Company and VISTA experience as a volunteer in community economic
and educational development. At the Center she prepared budgets,
grant proposals, publicity, and schedules. She supervised staffing
and other administrative functions. She has successfully written
grants for a variety of civic and art groups to local, state
and national government units and corporate and individual donors.
Marlene was a leader with Girl and Boy Scout Troops and has worked
with church youth programs. Through experience with business
and civic organizations, she brings an understanding of their
needs and goals and shows how to blend them into partnerships
for young people.
The authors have forged partnerships with area colleges and universities
to recruit college student interns to work with children and
teenagers to give them an opportunity to learn from young adults.
Although the majority of the children served were ages 6-12,
Brite and Jaglinski administered projects that targeted 12-18
year olds, many of whom were gang members. These teenagers participated
in mural painting, photography, public art, and performance projects.
A number of the teenagers chose to stay in school and some have
gone on to jobs in art-related fields after their art experiences.
Brite and Jaglinski serve on the boards and consult for various
add an art component to after-school programming?
Art is that part of a school curriculum often considered a frill
and the first to go when there is a dollar crunch. But it is
a godsend for children who have limited opportunity for expression
and inquiry. This concept works for all young people, but offers
startling results for those considered at-risk. By participating
in the arts in a non-judgmental, positive environment, young
minds open, grow, comprehend and accept the world. The arts unlock
creativity in young people, enabling them to adjust to challenges
and opportunities in their lives.
Art provides young people opportunities that:
problem-solving skills and techniques.
imaginations and the creative spirit.
a way to release feelings in a positive way.
them aware of art and their surroundings.
awareness and understanding of art in cultural heritage.
|The arts foster creativity by
encouraging children to trust their inner instincts and vision.
No judgments are made -- just positive reinforcement and joy
in experiencing the freedom of the creative process.
Artists offer a
We advocate using artists to work with children in after-school
programs. Artists are capable of small wonders. Artists are free-thinking
and experimental, creating environments that are stimulating
and entertaining. Risk is often their by-word when it involves
looking at things from different perspectives. Painting a banana
blue or a cow purple gives a new perspective and outlook on everyday
objects that is whimsical and refreshing. The opportunity for
artists to work with children offers unique multi-cultural as
well as cross-generation experiences.
10 Through 16
Many after-school programs focus on children 6-10 years old.
Targeting children over ten and through the teenage years presents
special considerations. Art After-School details several successful
projects with teenagers. One project allowed gang members to
do a show of graffiti on the gallery walls. The show did not
glamorize gangs or graffiti. It gave participants an opportunity
to express in a controlled environment what they do and why they
do it. It gave the public an opportunity to talk with these young
people to see that behind the tough façade are real life-and-death
fears and a need to belong. While two local police officers while
walking their beat, they came into the center to see what the
teens were doing. A long dialogue occurred between the teens
and the police officers. In the end both sides had
a better understanding of each others goals and concerns.
The police officers bought t-shirts the teens had painted.
People Art as Alternative
Art activities do not need to be confined within walls nor is
art found only in museums. A familiar neighborhood site offering
art is not intimidating but welcoming. Young people enjoy doing
public art such as murals on a building. They learn how to use
the arts in small ways to enhance their neighborhoods. Successful
collaborations with business and local governments give young
people visibility and opportunities to learn skills and earn
money. The arts can be a bridge to other activities. Sports and
art can be combined to design team t-shirts or enhance a basketball
court or a gym.
Safe & Sound is a community-based anti-crime initiative in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin designed to attack the problem of youth
crime through positive alternatives for youth, neighborhood organizing
and tough law enforcement. Safe & Sound Safe Place sites
are located in a variety of settings including public and private
schools, churches and youth centers offering art programming
to provide young people with additional options for positive
activities during those hours when they are statistically more
susceptible to committing or being victims of crime.
Young people need to talk about critical issues that affect them
every day, including gangs, crime and pregnancy. Young people
can dig deeper into their souls for expression without fear through
role playing, writing about their fears and concerns, act them
out through performances, or by creating art pieces to express
feelings on difficult topics.
A Success Story
Six months after WPCA opened, a neighborhood teenager named Oscar
Rodriguez offered to be a volunteer. The art and artists he saw
working at the center intrigued him. He kept the gallery open
on weekends. He learned to hang exhibits and put together a reception,
from buying refreshments to clean-up. He dealt with some difficult
demands by artists and helped with technical needs such as lighting
and sound requirements. He even helped build stages for performances.
Oscar worked with many famous artists including performance artist
Karen Finley. He was her right-hand man in the technical aspects
of her performance.
Through these experiences Oscars talent and enthusiasm
for the arts blossomed and center staff helped him attain a scholarship
to the Pratt Institute in New York. When Karen Finley came to
Pratt to do a performance, Oscar contacted her. She remembered
him and asked him to work with her again.
Oscar graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Arts and Design
with a major in design and a minor in photography. He has a promising
career in the marketing department of a manufacturing firm.
Similar opportunities for young people have arisen throughout
our experience. Through trial and error, limited only by the
boundaries of our collective imagination, we worked as a unit.
Adopting our philosophy with the childrens art as the philosophy
of operations, there was no right or wrong, good or bad idea.
Time and money were our only constraints. We tried innovative
programs and often pushed the limits.
It is said that creative people are committed to risk. Just keeping
the door open was often very difficult, but we kept the spirit
alive in all our endeavors. We were always willing to push beyond
Studies show there are many ways to learn. Noted education authority
Howard Gardner, in his book Multiple Intelligences, reports findings
on the various ways humans learn. He proposes that we should
all be given alternative ways to learn. Some people learn and
understand concepts best by hearing them, some learn best through
reading and others learn by doing. Often the most effective learning
occurs when material is presented in two or more formats. Using
the arts to reinforce or introduce academic material is a well-proven
method of facilitating education. We worked with a Milwaukee
Public School K-5 school to host an artist for a two-week residency
art project to reinforce the environmental theme being emphasized
in the class course work.
A paper maker worked with the students to teach them how to produce
paper pulp from cotton rags, pound pulp into various paper, forms
and connect those forms into a permanent mural for their media
center. The artist met with the teachers before the project began
to find out what the children would be learning in their classrooms,
then used her time with them to talk about environmental issues
while they were working on the handmade paper mural. As a result
of the in-class learning and hands-on activities,
the children learned about environmental issues and actively
participated in recycling while making art. Hanging in their
school is a daily reminder of what the students learned about
adaptive re-use of materials.
Arts and crafts are effective components of a recreational program.
These activities can be active or quiet, individual or group,
indoors or outdoors. Found objects, cans, and boxes can be used
to make a percussion band. Students can do individual projects
or group projects that use group dynamics to plan and reach the
desired goal. They can paint flowerpots indoors on a rainy day,
then take them outdoors to create an urban garden.
Young people should be encouraged to suggest the type of projects
they would like to do. They need to feel ownership by being involved
and responsible for participation in all aspects of a project.
Parents should always be encouraged to attend art-making sessions
and make art alongside the children. It is our experience that
parents and older siblings who initially shy away from participating
in art projects usually become engrossed in making art and will
feel comfortable returning to participate.
Making art involves planning ahead and making choices. It also
encourages starting over and finding alternative ways to achieve
the desired result. Art encourages freedom of thought. A successful
program is not judgmental of the art created. The teacher or
artist is a guide, not a master. Young people are encouraged
to do individual projects that reflect their personal tastes
and direction. Group activities encourage all aspects of project
development from idea to completion.
Art is a powerful way to diffuse violence and frustrations. Art
helps one deal with the pain experienced in parts of life one
may not understand and allows young people to express frustration
and anger through their art rather than violence.
The arts provide a window into cross-cultural understanding.
Making art offers time for personal pleasure and enjoyment.
Art After-School gives details how to develop partnerships and
collaborations with community groups and businesses. However,
don't limit yourself to organizations that are associated with
the arts. Think about the needs of the young people participating
and community needs. For example, include law enforcement officers
on your list of volunteers. Police officers and young people
who work together from planning an art project to implementation
and completion will bring together groups often considered adversaries
as police officers and young people get to know each other as
individuals, not just members of the other side.
How To Establish
an Art After School Program in Your Community
The mission and goals of a program can vary widely and will change
over time to reflect the needs of your neighborhood. Determine
a mission statement for your program. Establish a strategic plan
to carry out your organizational vision through a set of achievable
goals. Always consider your program within the context of the
broader community. Programming will be most effective if it reflects
and correlates with the needs and vision of the neighborhood.
An after-school art program model is a simple concept adaptable
to many settings. It does not have to be located in an art center.
It can operate in a stand-alone location or be integrated into
on-going after-school or summer programs. The concept can impact
all children by nurturing their talents, building their self-esteem,
encouraging them to make positive choices while giving them a
safe place to just be kids (but is especially effective for those
considered to be at risk). The program can be effective with
either meager or abundant budgets. This book is based upon real-life
experiences. It gives background on the after school art concept
to help you have a positive influence on the children in your