Hundreds of art lovers young and old pack the Roswell Civic Center for Celebrate the Arts Day, Saturday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Vibrant neon green T-shirts and swarms of children were surrounded by even more colors from paintings and various other art projects at the Civic Center for a day of art put on by the Roswell Independent School District’s Arts Connect program on Saturday.
Arts Connect, the RISD Elementary Integrated Arts Program, is meant to help incorporate art into teachers’ lesson plans. Instead of just teaching social studies or math, Arts Connect helps teachers use art projects to teach students fundamentals in every subject.
“We pull the creativity out of children, and they’re just happy,” said Interim Director Cindy Simmons.
After teaching every grade from kindergarten through high school, Simmons loves getting kids excited about art.
Arts Connect uses pictures of a hand, a heart and a brain because it is about uniting all parts of the body within the four main art categories: visual art, music, movement and dance and theatre.
Besides focusing on these aspects within the classroom, children are also introduced and connected to artists in the community. RISD’s community art event is to continue the community’s involvement with children’s art exposure. There was artwork displayed for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
“It’s a way for every child and every member of the community to create something artful,” Simmons said. There are different stations where students and their parents can create paintings, yarn art or Duct Tape tote bags. Each grade has a wall of displayed artwork that they proudly show off to family members.
“The best part is seeing kids with their family members and how their faces light up,” Simmons said. “[It’s amazing] to hear their laughter as they engage and create.”
Second-grader Alison DeBlase was inspired by her family, she said. Her bag is covered with a variety of patterned Duct Tape, from zebra stripes to camouflage, and the other side has hand and heart cutouts. But her favorite art project in class was a puppet.
“We got to use pipe cleaners and construction paper with a lot of designs,” she said, her eyes lighting up. Her puppet was on the display wall.
The $1 million arts program has made a difference for kids and parents. After only 45 minutes, more than 1,000 people had arrived at the display, and the children’s excitement and pride in their work was obvious.
“The kids treat the art teachers like rock stars,” Simmons said.