VIRGINIA — Art and music are extremely beneficial to our youth. Providing this through community programs as well as standard school curriculum can highly transform their futures. Here at Lyric Center for Arts in Virginia, we hope to provide a new venue for the youth in our community to channel their artistic expressions and creation.
For the past 21 years, the Lyric Center for Arts has provided a theater program for children called Small Parts Players. Work by the 2018 Blandin Quad Cities Leadership Cohort determined the need for other art programs in our community, and a group of leaders formed to make that happen at the Lyric. With grants from the Blandin 2018 Leadership Cohort and the Northland Foundation, they were able to open the opportunity to find a coordinator to get the youth program started.
Now that the program for students in grades K-12 has launched, the plan is to slowly offer instructed classes by local artists and open sessions where the students can come in after school to create openly, share their ideas with peers and have a safe space to do so. Eventually, we will of- fer other areas such as photography, music and literary arts.
It is crucial that the youth of our community have out-of-school artistic opportunities to complement athletic sports offerings. Making it accessible to everyone is essential. Art can often be seen as an “elite” activity and that cannot be the case.
Being able to offer an arts class (of any area) can save children in dangerous home situations from engaging in undesirable activities outside of the home and school. The Lyric Center will have scholarships available so that students are able to participate no matter what their family’s financial situation is.
Art and music provide structure and development. Teaching a baby sounds and words is music in itself. They correlate the tones with the world and the voices of their caretakers with love. Students who have exposure to music, visual arts, drama and dance may have a better chance of mastering writing, reading and math over those classes that focus only on pure academic instruction.
Think about the math involved in a musical composition: 1/8 time, 1/2 time, counting beats, major and minor chords… the list goes on. There is a high discipline required to become a concert pianist, but one may just use music to escape while walking or creating a visual arts piece. Combining a poem with an instrumental piece can become a hit song created to deal with a stressful personal situation or to address social issues and current events.
Students who form a band will focus on spending time creating with their peers after school rather than sitting around bored. Drama creates social skills and prepares students to not fear the world and to express themselves openly or take on another character in order to tell a story.
Visual arts create focus and determination to interpret an idea, and dance can create flexibility and a style of expression simply by using the body. It is a known fact that football players are encouraged to use ballet techniques. The serious discipline of body work involved in ballet is not for the weak. Ballet can teach even the toughest quarterback how to navigate the field with precision, avoiding injury to himself and others.
Every art form develops coordination, focus and confidence. Giving children a paintbrush with paints, especially when they are feeling strong emotions, can help them express what they are feeling without the physical breakdowns.
When a student develops these skills through all areas of art, they create a better future for themselves. These skills translate into everyday life and can save them from falling down a path of frustration that leads to quitting. Art encourages students to be their best selves. Whether they want to pursue an art area professionally or just carry the skills within themselves to maintain balance in life, the benefits of even one art class can significantly alter their lives.
The Lyric Center for Arts is a new outlet for our community’s students so that they, too, can find their path of expression toward a positive future. Current class opportunities range from painting, video editing and fiber arts. Age groups are grades 3-6, 7-9, and 10-12 with opportunities for K-12 coming in 2021.
To register for upcoming classes or to receive email updates, email email@example.com. The Lyric’s website, www.lyriccenteronline.org, is a great place to find out more about the program and the Lyric Center for the Arts.
Lindsey Frisk lives in Hibbing. She is the youth arts program coordinator for the Lyric Center for the Arts in Virginia.