Art Association promotes its youth activities

Rotary Club of Crowley President-Elect Mary Zaunbrecher, second from left, and program organizer Joe Freeland, far right, welcomed Robert Baxter, far left, and Rosslyn Moore, of the Crowley Art Association to the club’s meeting Tuesday to discuss the association’s children’s programs.

Programs enriching children’s lives

Jeannine LeJeune is the online editor for the Crowley Post-Signal. She can be reached at jeannine.lejeune@crowleytoday.com or 337-783-3450.

One thing is for certain, so long as they can, the Crowley Art Association is going to fight to keep giving children in the area a chance to learn about and create art.

For years, they have done this through their Children’s Summer Workshop – eight weeks of classes in multiple media giving children of various ages from across the parish a chance to be creative, at least for a week, during the summer.

Now, it is doing so through the Creative Youth of Acadia Parish program, as explained by Robert Baxter and Rosslyn Moore at Tuesday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Crowley.

As Louisiana’s budget for art programs has been cut drastically over the past few years, it has become harder and harder for smaller art associations, especially, to stay afloat. The Crowley Art Association went with a more aggressive approach, according to Baxter.

“Our grant committee decided to rev up our efforts,” he said. “We wanted to do more.”

That, of course, meant doing more with less as, for example, The Gallery saw a 70 percent drop in funding from the state and had to strive for more grants just to keep its doors open, never mind have actual programs like CYAP or its children’s summer workshop.

Nevertheless, the Crowley Art Association found a way and opened up a free art program to the youth in Acadia Parish’s public school system. The program saw interest from just under 400 students in the parish ranging from grades kindergarten through 12th and even some special needs children.

“When we saw how many kids really wanted to participate, we made it happen,” said Moore.

Set to run through September, the program features classes on the second and fourth Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each month. Each class is held at The Gallery after closing hours for two hours and features about 12 students each time.

Moore says each child walks in seeing the project and instinctively believing they will not be able to do it, but by the end of class they have created something they are proud of and the kids are clamoring to come back by the end of the two hours.

Baxter and the teachers are also teaching the students true art tools that they will be able to use again and again, even if they never have another art class. He also explained that these classes are also reaching a lot of underprivileged children in the area as he promoted the importance of art, citing statistics of higher test scores for students that have been enriched through any form of art.

“My life would not have been what it is, would not have been flustered with great gifts, without the exposure to art I had growing up,” he said.

Moore elaborated.

“Investing in art education for children is investing in children,” she said.

Moore explained that the art association is currently seeking donations as they hope to continue the program in 2015, He added that they will accept any donations from anyone.

Though the program runs through September, the Crowley Art Association plans to show off the art created during The Gallery’s participation in Christmas in Crowley in December.

Meanwhile, those interested in enrolling their children into Children’s Summer Workshop class can do so by contacting The Gallery at 783-3747 for more information and registration forms.

Classes run through June and July.

For more information, click here.

Acadia Parish Today

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