ArtsBridge prepares for take-off -dlh

Amy Siebels

Carrie Campbell, a senior, has interests that vary widely. She is an environmental studies major and a studio art minor. This summer, while working at a nature center, she discovered that she also loves teaching. She had no way to meld all her interests into one capstone senior project.
Then Campbell discovered ArtsBridge. The program, which President Jill Beck brought to Lawrence this year, sends college students into local schools to teach a program that integrates the arts with the regular curriculum.
Campbell was one of about 25 students who applied and one of 14 selected to complete the program, which lasts from January to June and requires at least 25 contact hours. The scholars receive a stipend to spend on their projects, as well as a personal monetary award.
Campbell will work with the art teacher at the Academy, a new charter school that currently serves about 36 students. The school includes kindergarten through sixth grade, plus ninth grade.
Campbell’s program will integrate environmental awareness and what she calls “sculpture through found objects.” She hopes to take her students outside to find things in nature that can become art back in the classroom.
For Campbell, the goals of the project are to help kids develop an “environmental conscience,” and to get them involved in the community. She also hopes to learn a little herself. “It’s really interesting to see what cool things they come up with,” she said.
Erin Sullivan, a bassoon player with a self-designed major in the Romantic era, hopes to incorporate music and math in her ArtsBridge kindergarten classroom at Clovis Grove Elementary. Sullivan’s project is called “Music and Math through Movement.” In her class, children will listen to classical music, learn to recognize beats, and eventually make some music of their own.
“I think it’s important to realize that not only can they be a part of music, but they can make music,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan has several ideas for gearing her project to young students. She wants to let the children create their own lyrics through games, introduce them to new instruments, and generally get them excited about music.
“What’s great about this program,” Sullivan said, “is that you’re showing kids how they can incorporate music into their everyday life.”
The details of Sullivan’s project are flexible. All ArtsBridge scholars will meet with their host teachers and work out a curriculum that is tailored to their students’ needs. They will go through four orientation meetings to learn more about ArtsBridge and to customize their project plans. On Jan. 18 they can start teaching.
The ArtsBridge scholars hope the program will be as exciting for them as it will be for the children.
“This is my outlet,” said Sullivan, “and a chance for me to be a kid and have fun.