Artist Connect focuses on providing free artistic opportunities for students in under-served rural areas of our region. The program aims to place professional, local artists from a variety of disciplines into the classrooms of Brazos Valley school districts, bringing the opportunities directly to the students and schools at no cost to them. In the inaugural year for this program, we worked with two elementary schools in Navasota ISD to provide the opportunities as full-day workshops hosted in the art teacher’s room, so that the majority of the students can attend during their class’ “specials” rotation.
In the first year, each school hosted both a performing arts and spoken word poetry program. We engaged affiliate theatre and poetry groups to select professional artists to lead the workshops. The contracted artists agreed to create lesson plans and activities which aligned with fine arts TEKS standards for elementary students. We directly impacted 630 kindergarten through 5th grade students over all the programs. The demographics of the schools served by this program are 50% Hispanic, 35% African American and 15% Anglo.
With increased support for the program, we could double our current student impact to over 1,200 students directly reached with the program, as well as doubling the amount of time that we are able to provide in-classroom hands-on arts programming.