ART Kids Program Thrives at Prince Edward Elementary
On Fridays this past year at Prince Edward County Elementary School, about a dozen fourth graders missed recess – and they couldn’t be happier about it. “ART Kids is better than recess!” exclaimed one participant. Organized by the LCVA and PECES, the ART Kids program uses photography to teach
self-expression, enhance communication skills, and build confidence.
The 2009-10 program was taught by LCVA exhibitions manager Alex Grabiec, himself a photographer who graduated from Longwood’s Art Department in 2007. Grabiec was assisted by Wells-Bishop Intern Andrea Damiano, along with a host of LU student volunteers. “Part of what we do is to break into small groups to discuss new concepts, to take new photographs, or to evaluate our projects. Having capable volunteers to give more individual attention has been incredibly helpful,” noted Grabiec.
The program targets fourth-grade students who have been identified as “at risk” by the school’s teachers and administrators. “Frankly, I don’t see these kids as any different than other kids, or the way I remember being a kid,” noted Grabiec. “But it is a nice opportunity to work in a positive way with kids who may have had problems. And it’s gratifying to see so many positive changes – watching a very shy girl open up, seeing improvements in the kids’ photography, hearing the kids move from a more insulting way of talking about one another to a more constructive form of art criticism.”
An exhibition of the student's work will take place in the spring of 2011.