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Arts in the Park, a program of the Springfield Regional Arts Council, finished its ninth year on Friday. Kids from the Springfield Community Center explored world cultures and created original art during this free seven-week program. KSMU’s Adam Murphy has more.
At the Arts in the Park graduation, 100 students from the Springfield Community Center proudly perform their original call and response poem, which they wrote this summer.
Like their poem says, the world is exciting, which they discovered through this year’s theme for the program, “world cultures”. Each week the students explored different art forms and various cultures, from Irish dance, to Indian poetry.
The Springfield Regional Arts Council and a team of participating organizations have been putting on this program every summer since 2001. Many of the kids participating in Arts in the Park are from low income homes, and all of the students attend the program at no cost to them or their families.
Chris Shields is a sophomore at Central High School. He has been participating in Arts in the Park for six years. He is now a staff member helping younger kids explore art each summer.
“I’m glad I’m doing Arts in the Park, to show the other kids and to be able to learn a little bit more too while teaching,” said Chris.
He says he loves to create art and has poems and paintings from Arts in the Park all over his house.
Javeon England is going into the seventh grade. This was his third year at Arts in the Park. At the graduation, Javeon performed his original poem “I am a Tiger.” He says poetry is his favorite form of art because it helps him express his feelings.
Javeon says he is glad he has the chance to create original art, and he says one day his work could become famous.
“Vincent Van Gogh created a painting that got really famous, and some people created poetry that got really famous and everything. So I’m glad we’re able to create stuff because one day you never know it might be famous and you might see it in books or on the wall like you do now,” Javeon said.
Javeon says he is glad he came to Arts in the Park this summer because if not, he would be at home playing video games.
At the graduation celebration, students also performed songs, a dance, and a Native American poem. They learned the songs during their week of studying African American influence on opera with the SRO Lyric Theatre, formerly the Springfield Regional Opera.
Funding for the program was provided by the Missouri Arts Council, the Musgrave Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education.
For more information about the Arts in the Park program, you can visit www.SpringfieldArts.org.
For KSMU News, I’m Adam Murphy.