EATON — The RISE Program at the Preble County Art Association held its end-of-year celebration on Thursday, May 2. The celebration honored the teens who have worked hard throughout the year on various projects.
According to Caitlin Cartwright, Education and Operations Manager at the Art Center, RISE stands for Respect, Integrity, Spirit, and Experience. This is a program in partnership with the Preble County Juvenile Courts. The program works with middle and high school students who have been recommended and could benefit from a mentoring experience. In weekly after-school meetups over the course of the school year, the students work with a professional artist to create works of public art which are displayed throughout Preble County.
Throughout the process students also gain skills like teamwork, creative problem solving, critical thinking, and professional skill building.
RISE meets for two sessions over the course of the year. There are 10 weeks in fall and 12 in the winter/spring session. They also have a month long work study program in the summer.
“This year held two major projects. The first one, during the fall session we were excited to partner with Safari Junction. We made stand alone, interactive murals which are now displayed at Safari Junction. Students took a field trip at the beginning of the project to see the animals, interact with them, and sketch them on site. It was a lot of fun,” Cartwright said.
“In the second project, students took a six week wheel ceramics course and created a colorful 3D wall installation that will be installed at Camden Head Start.”
For Cartwright, this program gives students an opportunity to bond with one another in a creative way. This program allows these students to open up and grow into their own as artists and people.
“I love that this program provides a nurturing space for students to be creative and take risks. The kids really bond and create a community with each other. Beyond providing a much needed art outlet, this program also teaches professional skills in our Work Study program. We work with the kids to fill out job applications and get references. Its great because this can be a daunting process and we really walk the students through it as they learn,” she said.
“One thing I hear from the kids over and over again is that when they come to the RISE program they feel like they can be themselves. I’ve seen them open up and share their personalities and become more vocal. I also hear from the parents that this program is crucial to their kids because its something that they can feel successful in.”
Every RISE participant was honored with an award fit to their own skills and personality:
•Kelby Jones was presented with The Jackson Pollock award because he’s always looking for joy and unique ways to make art.
•Emma Personette was presented with The MC Escher award for always executing her art with detail.
•Colby Jessie was presented with The Picasso award for always thinking outside the box.
•Liz Treytag was presented with The Van Gogh award for finding the beauty in things.
•Autumn Bean was presented with The Dali award for not being limited by what’s in front of her.
•Aubrey Smith was presented with The Jeff Koons award for finding fun and whimsy in her art.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH