Summer Art Program Offers Boost Of Self-Esteem< < Back to
If you asked Barb Campagnola, the executive director of Circle Round the Square, if she ever thought eight years ago a summer art program she started would nearly double in size, she'd just laugh.
"Never. I never in a million years imagined that so many great outcomes could happen from a program this size," said Campagnola.
The Nelsonville-based arts program is in it's eighth year this summer enriching the lives of local students.
This year, the Ohio Department of Development awarded the program $20,000 in grant money. The effort receives funding from other foundations and community organizations, as well as support in the form of space or time donations.
Campagnola says 60 students ages fifth through tenth grades from the Nelsonville-York School district are participating.
"It's incredibly rewarding. It's the reason I do what I do. It's a huge program and it's very stressful to put together, but when you walk into the school, you can feel it. It's palpable
The students rotate through different areas of focus: one day they may be making a cigar box guitar, another a ceramic rattlehead, and yet another, a delicious dish, exploring the art of cooking and the presentation of food.
Campagnola says the program also has a performing arts collaborative.
Students serve as filmmakers, script writers, actors and costume and prop makers as they create public service announcements.
"It's incredibly rewarding. It's the reason I do what I do. It's a huge program and it's very stressful to put together, but when you walk into the school, you can feel it. It's palpable," said Campagnola.
One main focus and goal is for the students to gain self-esteem. They gain that, says Campagnola, while also gaining more than 60 hours of state standardized art education. Not all of the teachers are art educators, so a curriculum coordinator works with them, developing lessons plans and making sure that projects have some measureable outcome for state standards.
The principles are simple: learn, create, accomplish and be recognized. But the outcome is enormous, she says.
The all-day program is free of charge, serving a need in the community, says Campagnola. This year, they are offering bussing for students.
When she first started it, she says there was no arts education in the school system.
Through the camp, students not only create art, they experience it through field trips one day a week to local art exhibits at the Dairy Barn or the Kennedy Museum of Art.
At the end of the the four-week session, students have a chance to display their own art in an exhibit and screening at Stuart's Opera House during Nelsonville's Final Friday in July. But, really it's about process, not product, says Campagnola.
"They are so proud of themselves and they are so thrilled with themselves and their families are so thrilled and to hear them talk and their comments, that's when it's really done and evident," she said.
That experience is why Campagnola says she and the 16 other teachers continue to offer the camp year after year.
The Circle Round the Square began July 18 runs through July 24.