Here we are mid-August, and for those who attend school, time is just ticking away to that first day of a new session. It’s hard to believe that what we school-minded people refer to as summer break has gone by so quickly. I remember that summer break used to be Memorial Day to Labor Day. Each year it seems to get shorter and shorter, with less and less time to prepare for the first day of school.
So, how do we define school? 1. An institution for teaching children. 2. A university-level institution. 3. A department specializing in an academic subject. 4. An institution teaching a nonacademic skill. 5. An instructive place or period. 6. A group of people, especially artists, writers or philosophers, who share the same principles, methods, ideas or styles. 7. Art League Marco Island’s Center for the Arts (MICA) !
Yes, that’s right. MICA is not only a nonprofit arts organization, it is an educational facility, a school for the Arts. As a matter of fact, the nonprofit status for the Art League is an educational one. MICA is unique, in that it is a school for all ages. It offers a variety of programs, not just in the visual arts, but also the literary, dramatic and musical arts, and has been providing a learning experience for 40 years!
So, what is it to school someone? 1. To train someone in a particular skill or area of expertise in a thorough and detailed way. 2. To educate a child or teenager formally in school. 3. To spend a part of a day teaching. 4. To teach a program at the Art League Marco Island’s Center for the Arts!
This has been an exciting summer for arts education, especially for the younger school-age children. June through mid-July was spent running Kids Art Kamp, a great program focused on the visual arts for children grades K-8. August continued with the Artist Visiting Kids program, “Exploring the Calusa Indians through Different Art Styles.” In September, after-school programs will return with Art Adventures and Creative Dramatics.
Some of us get excited about school, while some of us seem to dread going. I wonder how much the dread factor surfaces due to the lack of really understanding that we all learn differently. We are all challenged to be ourselves as we continue to develop and throughout our lives and are challenged to overcome peer pressures. We are all encouraged to be the best we can be and yet, especially in an organized traditional academic educational facility, we are all taught the same way. Yes, there is only so much time in a day and so much funding available and so on, but let’s face it – if we could learn easier, comprehend better and enjoy school more, wouldn’t we want to take advantage of that opportunity?
MICA has a mission to promote education in and appreciation of excellence in the Arts. With an understanding of this mission, we know that the Arts make a huge contribution to personal development. What some of us may not know is that statistics show that including the Arts in the development of children results in improved overall academic performance. Why wouldn’t we want to provide our children with that opportunity?
How do we define after-school programs? At MICA, Art Adventures, a visual arts class and Creative Dramatics, a dramatic arts program, are fun, exciting ways to learn!
The Arts programs are not just about teaching art techniques and art history or theatre games and improvisation. They are not just about completing hands-on projects or stimulating the imagination. These programs are also about developing creative thinking and self-expression; building self-esteem and improving communication skills; developing self-awareness and learning life skills, including teamwork, concentration and commitment.
So, good-bye summer break and welcome to the great days of schooling, September through May, just like the good old days! That’s the youth program schedule at the Art League Marco Island’s Center for the Arts – the school for the arts!