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"My favorite thing about art is how you can express yourself through it." The @ncartmuseum is partnering with local mentors to bring the arts to students that don't have a program in their middle schools.
This program from the @ncartmuseum is connecting mentors with students for after-school art programs, and for these Roper, N.C. students, that means creating something beautiful for the community.
“I think that’s why I’m still living today, because I’ve gotten so much from young people,” Jimmie Sutton says as he looks over to his students singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend and drawing in their sketch books.
Sutton is an artist from Roper, North Carolina and has taught art for over 40 years in Washington County and the neighboring school district.
According to the NCMA, AIM is an initiative designed to connect artists from eastern North Carolina communities with local youth for after-school programs. The programs are intended to last six weeks and will be taking place in multiple counties around the region.
For Washington County, AIM focused its efforts on sixth graders who do not have an art program at their middle school. In choosing a mentor for the program, the NCMA met with community members to learn about local artists. The selection group was made up of members from Washington County Middle School, the Washington County Board of Education, and the The North Carolina Arts Council.
“We really are co-creating these programs with each community that we enter, and so that (the mentor selection) is appropriate for each location”
Angela Lombardi, director of outreach and audience engagement at NCMA
Angela Lombardi, director of outreach and audience engagement at NCMA, said “the museum feels really strongly about increasing access to creative expression, no matter where it is.” She believes art can help students understand that there are creative solutions to a lot of problems, and while it gives an avenue for self expression, it also helps develop social emotional learning tools.
The program is currently focusing on Eastern North Carolina, but the museum plans on expanding to other regions and hopes AIM cultivates creative thinkers across the state.
Sutton had worked previously on a mural for the Washington County African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center. For Washington County’s AIM program, its owners allowed the students to continue beautifying the building. NCMA rented the space inside for the group to meet for two, six-week sessions.
These are some of the Washington County Middle School students who participated in AIM, showing off their masterpieces and sharing their stories.