Adams County Arts Council – Supporting the arts in Adams County, PA

Posts Tagged ‘connections’

The Arts are a Gift for Future Generations

Posted on: December 17th, 2014 by Lisa Cadigan

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In the world of education, where test scores are often valued above participation in the arts, we are losing sight of the fact that academic success depends on creative thinking.  According to pbs.org and a report by Americans for the Arts, “young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.” A Gallup study on entrepreneurship concluded creative thinking is the crucial trait shared among successful entrepreneurs.  Also reported on pbs.org, “A study published in 2007 by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, revealed that students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math scores on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs, regardless of socioeconomic disparities among the schools or school districts.”

If we know the arts are responsible for building future generations of creative thinkers (not to mention, happier people), shouldn’t we invest in that endeavor?

Preschoolers work on their Hungry Caterpillar books

Preschoolers work on their Hungry Caterpillar books

In 2014, at the Adams County Arts Council provided enriching arts experiences for:

  • 246 pre-K children, who will likely be better prepared to thrive in a school environment than peers who did not participate in such programs;
  • 299 summer campers, who developed their minds and bodies with movement classes, culinary classes, painting, textiles, clay and collage;
  • 174 high school and middle school students, who enjoyed after-school classes in the new Eat Smart – Play Hard program, which teaches the benefit of good nutrition with a creative twist;
    Adult students enjoy a Paint & Wine evening with Marie Betlyon Smith

    Adult students enjoy a Paint & Wine evening class

  • 1,558 students, who enjoyed artistic experiences with Artists-in-residence; and
  • 663 adults, who continued on a journey of lifelong learning through a variety of art classes.

Twenty-two percent of the children who took classes did so on a full scholarship, thanks to ACAC’s commitment to provide access to lower income families.

These gifts given to our community by the Adams County Arts Council are trends to build upon.  So we are asking you to please give back, and pass it on.

Give Back…And Pass it On
From December 16 – 18
, ACAC will be raising funds online to ensure the continued ability to provide our community with enriching experiences, activities and educational opportunities.  Our goal is to raise $7,200 in 72 hours, and you can help.

  1. Give Back.
    There are plenty of reasons to say thank you, and your gift helps ensure the continued creative spirit that thrives in our community.
  2. Pass It On.
    Share this article with everyone you know!  Use social media accounts, and email your entire address book.  The more engaged our community becomes, the more the arts will thrive. And the more the arts thrive, the richer all of our lives become.
  3. Stay Tuned. Watch and share our Facebook and Twitter posts from December 16-18, as we track the progress of the campaign.  The more you help share the news, the more successful we will all be! Also, if you haven’t already, please subscribe to our email list (enter your email address in the upper right hand corner of this page).  Learn about all of the opportunities ACAC has for you throughout the year.
Kelly Corrigan (Photo Credit: Betsy Barnes)

Kelly Corrigan (Photo Credit: Betsy Barnes)

We thank you in advance for your gift. Donors of $50 or more will receive recognition on the blog and in a special holiday email greeting following the campaign. Givers of $250 or more will be entered into a raffle for a free class at the ACAC this January or for a ticket to our upcoming event with NY Times Best-selling Author Kelly Corrigan in March.

Enjoy this season of giving!

 

Time Well Spent with Paint and Wine

Posted on: September 25th, 2014 by Lisa Cadigan

10494637_1438922073062932_4388369497265544773_nAs the passing days of my life turn into months and years, I realize I am running out of time to become the next van Gogh.  I have been pretty busy raising children and working over the past several years, and I haven’t taken much time to practice painting.  Yet I have always wanted to know how to paint. I often find myself viewing the world in watercolors, imagining beautiful sky-scapes on canvas, wishing I knew how to capture the beauty of a fall day in a painting. I have also always wanted to win an Oscar for best actress, but we’ll stay focused here and keep it real.

Last fall, I registered for a watercolor class at the ACAC. Committed to cutting out a little time just for me, I impressed myself with my ability to carve out the three hours a week to attend the class, only to experience a head-slapping V-8 moment when I was reminded that if one wants to become fluent in any creative process, she has to practice, preferably daily.  I hadn’t cut out the time to practice.  I had literally budgeted my time to the minute just to be able to attend the class.  Our instructor suggested we set up an area in our homes where our paints were always accessible, which sounded wonderful, but I knew with a heavy heart from day one that this was not a class I would be able to continue with any success at this season in my life.

Although I highly recommend the class and the instructor, I confess my paints have remained in the closet for the most part since last year. They come out every now and again on a random Saturday when my daughter and I have a few hours to play with paint together.  Now that it’s fall again, Sunday afternoons leave us a few hours clear of distraction while the boys in our house watch football, so maybe we’ll paint then, too.

I had resolved to put my dreams to master painting aside for the time being, when another opportunity presented itself.  I was intrigued to hear about the Paint and Wine Nights hosted at the ACAC, taught by instructor Marie Betlyon Smith.  During these monthly evening classes, the ACAC provides paints, easels and brushes, while Marie supplies a sample painting, accessible instruction, and music. Students are invited to munch on snacks and enjoy the beverages of their choice, while Marie leads the class through a complete work, from start to finish, in just a few hours.  No experience is necessary.  Seriously.  Absolutely none.  I went to my first class on August 7, and painted this: mypainting

 

There are a variety of people who come to the class – regulars committed not to miss a class, dabblers like me who will fit it in when we can, people who have never touched a brush, and some avid painters who may not even paint the subject matter presented, but who enjoy the opportunity to paint in community.  The result is a truly lovely evening of relaxation and creativity with interesting people, complete with the satisfaction of a finished painting to bring home.

Marie leads her students through the process of her sample painting, but artists are free to vary the palette and subject as they wish.  I pretty much followed the example during my first class, but next time I might branch out a little more, like my classmate, Jim McCabe, who decided to zoom in a little closer to the moon.

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Left: Marie’s sample painting for the evening
Right: Jim’s interpretation of the subject

I enjoyed the opportunity to work with a new medium (acrylics), to see how Marie was able to break down the painting into simple steps, and to discover what I could do.  I was able to practice painting without any worry about when I might get to practice again, thanks to a meaningful starting and ending point during an evening I can commit to one month at a time.  I enjoyed food and wine with friends, new and old, while listening to good music.  The energy of the room that evening was pretty magical.

August Paint Night

The October paint night is already sold out, but there are more scheduled. Not available evenings? ACAC is also offering some daytime offerings.  So grab some friends, or come out for a solo-adventure to meet new friends.  Set aside some time one evening or afternoon to let your inner-Picasso come out to play.

Upcoming classes are:

Thursday, November 6 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, December 4 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Monday, December 8 from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

All classes are held at the ACAC Education Center on 125 S. Washington Street, Gettysburg.  You can register for the November class here or call (717) 334-5006 for more information.  Links to register online for December should be available soon.  Cost for the class is $36.

This is the lovely painting being offered for the December afternoon class, taught by Marti Yeager:

 Moon-at-SunsetHope to see you there!

 

TODAY’S THE DAY!

Posted on: May 20th, 2014 by Lisa Cadigan

 

I am a believer that all of our choices – big and small – have an impact beyond our wildest imaginings.  A kind word you share today can change the tenor of a stranger’s day; holding a door open for someone can restore his faith in humanity, even if only for a moment. Grocery shopping at 9 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. can be the difference between bumping into an old friend or getting the last of the fresh strawberries. Each tiny decision (and there are thousands of them we make each day) has the potential for a ripple effect into the future.

When I was in high school, my dad took me on a road trip to tour colleges.  I was pretty sure I wanted to go to the University of Maryland at College Park – it was my dad’s alma mater, and the charm of the “south” with its beautiful campuses appealed to me (I am from NJ, so Maryland is “south”).  From College Park, we headed further south to check out the University of Richmond and the University of Virginia.  Our plan was to head home from Charlottesville, but when we found ourselves on a two-lane highway in the lovely rolling hills of Virginia, we realized we had missed an exit or made a wrong turn somewhere. Looking at the map, taking I-81 home made more sense than trying to work our way back to the I-95 corridor, so we re-routed our trip.  When we started seeing signs for James Madison University, we detoured to stretch our legs and check it out. I had never heard of JMU, and was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the beautiful campus and talk to some folks in the theatre department.  We picked up an application on a whim and continued home.

I applied to three of the four schools we visited that weekend, including JMU, but I was still fairly set on going to College Park. However, when the acceptance letter came from JMU, my trajectory changed in a split second. I am not sure why.  Maybe the pretty bluestone buildings appealed to my aesthetic sensibilities.  Maybe it was the appeal of a theatre department that boasted several student-produced productions each year.  Whatever it was, I decided to go to JMU instead of U of MD.  My life changed because my dad and I turned left when we were supposed to turn right. (Side note: I met my husband at JMU. There are also two children who exist in the world because my dad and I got lost.)

We aren’t always conscious of the impact small choices make in our lives or the lives of others, but there are times when we have an opportunity to make those choices knowingly.

Today is a day like that.

Today, you have an opportunity to click a few buttons and change lives.  Today you can share this post with your friends and family and donate a small amount towards an art-scholarship for a child.  The children who receive these scholarships would not otherwise be able to participate in the summer camps and classes offered by the Adams County Arts Council.

Where would that dollar, or five dollars, or ten dollars burning a hole in your pocket go if you didn’t send it to ACAC?  Maybe it would go toward an extra cup of coffee late in the afternoon, which would in turn, keep you up at night and make you grumpy tomorrow and more likely to yell at your kids.  Maybe it would go towards a pack of gum that somehow ends up chewed and stuck to the rug in your car.

OR…

You can send it the Adams County Arts Council, and know that your pocket change can make our community better by strengthening and enriching its youngest citizens.  Your few dollars and clicks could be the turning point that determines where a child in our community decides to go to college later.  It could be the miniscule thing that makes it possible for the next Ansel Adams or Georgia O’Keefe to discover his or her talent.  At the very least it could be the opportunity for two siblings to find something in common that they like to do together, building family connections.  Your pocket change has infinite possibility today.

How can you get involved?  It’s as easy as A-B-C:

A.  Click here: http://adamsarts.org/sponsorship
Donate $10.  Don’t have $10 to spare?  Donate $5. Or $1.  Every dollar counts – a click and a dollar or two makes a difference with unlimited potential.

B.  Share this story with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email, and encourage them to play along and donate, too.

C.  Watch our progress on the blog and social media over the next 48 hours as we strive to meet our goal of $4,800 in 48 hours.  We’re hoping to reach 480 people who will donate $10 each.

“Sometimes the little opportunities that fly at us each day can have the biggest impact.” –Danny Wallace


 

 

Once upon a time…

Posted on: May 7th, 2014 by Lisa Cadigan

Arts Benefit Children - An Online Event - May 20-22Once upon a time, there was a middle-aged woman.  Every Monday, she woke up, made coffee, woke her children, made breakfast, nagged at them to brush their teeth and put on their shoes, and then drove them to school to start their day.  She continued on to her workplace, where she usually spent the first ten to fifteen minutes of her day checking email and perusing Facebook; a comforting routine to ease herself from the role of mother to the role of employee, ready to tackle the tasks on her to-do list.

One day, as she sat at her computer, a beautiful, brightly colored-image danced across her Facebook newsfeed.  “Arts Benefit Children!” it said.  “Well, of course the arts benefit children,” she thought to herself, and so she clicked. Here is what she read:

Postcard-web“SAVE THE DATE!  On May 20-22, you will have an opportunity to help the Adams County Arts Council raise $4,800 in 48 hours!  We are harnessing the power of the internet to reach out to thousands of people, who can change the lives of children and make the world a better place with just the click of a button!”

“Hmmm…I’m a little skeptical,” she thought to herself.  But she read on.  It turned out that an old friend of hers was involved in the fundraiser, and had posted the colorful image.  She clicked the “donate” button, sent in ten dollars, and then shared the link on her Facebook page, in an attempt to reconnect with her friend.  Her donation surprisingly brought on the sense that she had already accomplished something helpful and important that day, and it was only 8:45 a.m.  “Huh,” she thought. “Simple mouse-clicks do have the capability of affecting people.  But why would anyone want to donate to an organization with which they may not have a personal connection?”

The answer came to her surprisingly quickly.  She suddenly remembered a painting class she took as a third grader.  She had just moved to a new city and school where she hadn’t yet made friends.  She was lonely and worried she would never adjust.  At the beginning of the class, she couldn’t think of anything to paint, so she decided she would just choose colors to paint “lonely.”  The result was a beautiful painting in blues and greens, and her teacher shared it with the rest of the class.  At the end of class, another student approached her and told her how much she liked the painting.  The girl was still her friend thirty years later.  Art had changed her life in that moment.

A man in another state, who knew the woman in college, saw the brightly colored image pop up in his newsfeed.  Seeing her name attached to the post unexpectedly flooded him with college memories. He recalled a meeting with his freshman advisor, who told him he was required to take an art class.  “I don’t want to take an art class,” he had thought at the time. “I’m a mathematician, not an artist.”  But his advisor explained that the art class was a requirement for graduation.  So he decided on an acting class.  He realized he had been using principles from the class every day in his classroom as a math teacher. Thanks to that acting class, he was comfortable in front of a crowd and better able to read the faces of his students.  Not to mention, he met his wife in that acting class.

He called his wife, and nostalgically recounted the memory of their meeting place, telling her about the post on Facebook.  “I am sharing it with you right now,” he said.  “You should share it with your artsy-friends and donate a dollar or two.”  She laughed, because she and her husband often playfully debated the differences in their educations; his was much more math and science-based, while she had been a music major with a minor in English.  They were both highly intelligent people, and both were teachers now, touching the lives of future generations with skills polished at least partially, if not entirely, by their experiences with art.

She shared the Facebook post, too, and donated five dollars.  As she read the stories across shared posts, she was deeply touched.  She had been the recipient of a music scholarship in the fourth grade that allowed her to take violin lessons.  Her family could not afford the instrument rental without that scholarship, and if she had not taken those lessons, she would never have tapped into the musical part of herself that filled her heart and life so significantly.  She realized the scholarship was the reason she taught elementary orchestra now.  She tweeted and emailed the fundraiser information to all of her colleagues.

This is how it works. 

Every day, we connect with people, and the common source of our human connection is creativity.   Whether it is telling a joke, watching a movie, writing a business memo, or writing a novel, the source of human connection requires a creative thought and a medium through which it can be expressed.

In the coming weeks, we will share real stories of kids who have benefitted from scholarships. You can be part of giving them the tools to creatively contribute to their relationships, careers and to the quality of life in our communities.

Do you have an art story?  Will you share it, along with this invitation to help others write theirs?

If just 480 people donate $10 each, we can offer scholarships to more than thirty disadvantaged young people.  We can unleash the creative potential in children who may not otherwise be able to tap into such a venue.

Don’t have $10 to spare?  Donate just $5.  Or $1.  Every dollar counts – a click and a dollar or two makes a difference with unlimited potential connections

How can you get involved?  It’s as easy as A-B-C:

A. Visit our donation page between May 20 and 22nd
http://adamsarts.org/sponsorship
Donate a dollar.  Or $5.  Or $10.  Or more, if you feel so inspired.  But know that every dollar counts.

B. Share this story with your friends, and encourage them to play along and donate, too.

C. Come back to the blog to hear stories about past scholarship recipients who have enjoyed classes and camps here, and track our progress.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

lisaandkaren

 

 

 

Lisa Cadigan is a director on the Adams County Arts Council’s board and the chair of ACAC’s Marketing & Development Committee. She is also the sole proprietor of Cadigan Creative, where she offers graphic design and marketing services.  You can  find out more about Lisa on the Cadigan Creative website, and see samples of her writing on her blog, Daily Presents.

Karen Hendricks is a volunteer on the Adams County Arts Council’s marketing and development committee and the owner/president of Hendricks Communications, LLC.  Karen demonstrates a love of writing and communicating in all she does; it’s the common thread linking all of her current and past experiences.  Her communications firm provides compelling public relations and marketing services to a select but varied group of clients. You can find out more about Karen on the Hendricks Communications website and see additional samples of her writing on her blog, Off the Merry-Go-Round.

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