Department of Art Awarded NEA Grant to Expand Art Outreach

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 10, 2014 – The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $10,000 to the Department of Art at Southeast Missouri State University to expand its art outreach program.

Art Reach, Bridging the Arts across Cape (ARBAC) is a major expansion beginning this fall of the Art Reach program, a volunteer effort for underserved youth attending the Bridge Outreach Center. The program began as a partnership between the University and the Southeast Missouri Arts Council. Murielle Gaither, Arts Council Director, experienced an Art Reach program at Vanderbilt University and sought to implement one in Cape Girardeau.

“The University in partnership with the Southeast Missouri Arts Council continues to support the efforts of this program and is elated about the expansion,” said Carol Horst, instructor of art and education at Southeast.

Because of this funding, the Art Reach program will now extend into Jefferson School in Cape Girardeau, the SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence and the Community Counseling Center, in addition to the Bridge, thereby reaching a larger number of underserved youths in the area.

ARBAC extends art as a vehicle to foster personal and contemporary vision in the lives of youth and the disabled who lack opportunities for artistic expression due to economic or personal circumstances.

Students will view, discuss and interpret the meaning of relevant works of art and incorporate the themes of the works through the creation of their own art, Horst said. This will be done in a wide variety of media under the guidance of professional guest artists, art educators, and University students.

The project also allows University students to gain non-traditional educational field experience through training and mentorship opportunities, Horst said. Lessons will be structured to encourage participants to tap into their personal creativity to develop their visual literacy and creative problem solving skills, both essential to succeed in contemporary culture.

This is an excellent opportunity for education students to work with various populations in the community to get a clear understanding of how different individuals learn and how art impacts creativity and innovation, Horst said.

For additional information contact the program director, Carol Horst at chorst@semo.edu or (573) 651-2119.