Youth Art worth supporting

Youth Art worth supporting

youth art 1


• March 13, 2013
Art is back at Franklin. After a year absence because of limited funding, art classes are again being offered at Vanguard Collegiate. Just in time for Sue Hollister to find a new home and present her student’s work at the Arts Ed. Open House at the RCSD Central Office Building.youth art 2

Visual arts teacher Hollister, also the Coordinator of The Cypher, an after-school arts program for at-risk youth in Downtown Rochester, is thrilled:

After a year of being an itinerant teacher, split between 3 schools, I am so grateful to be in one place again so that I can make a positive impact on the Vanguard community and arts programs. The arts give students an opportunity to express themselves and acquire innovative skills in a way that other disciplines just do not. And the pride on their faces when they hear or see other people appreciating the artwork they created, makes my job so amazing.

At last night’s opening, students, parents, faculty, and community members gathered to see a variety of art created by both elementary and secondary students in the Rochester City School District. The exhibit, which celebrates Youth Art Month, will be on display through the end of March. Check out the Rochester cityscape created by Nepali-born Bijaya Mahat, who has limited English language skills but is capable of communicating fluently through the medium of pastels.


youth art 3Just look at the enthusiasm – no disengagement in sight. Luckily for Hollister and her students, her art program will continue to grow because of the incredibly supportive administration at Vanguard. This is not always the case at other schools, as they are dealing with many obstacles that seem to shelter the relevancy and importance of the arts, in light of the new state-mandated Common Core Learning Standards.  As Hollister says:

The main purpose of the recent CCLS initiative is to ensure that high school students are prepared for and can be successful in college. Collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication are just part of the long list of skills that are taught through the arts. These are the skills that our urban youth are lacking. They don’t need more tests to prove what they don’t know; they need more creative opportunities to express what they do.

Art makes city schools better.

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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