COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to in-person outreach for students across Muscogee and Harris County. Making one local center rethink how to keep their Art Makes You Smart program alive and well.
Mike McFalls Interim Director of The Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University said when they realized the in-person program would not be an option they had to figure out how to reach students virtually.
“Art Makes You Smart brought artist like Bo Bartlett but even community artist to the schools to work with students first hand,” said McFalls. “Obviously that wasn’t going to happen so the discussion became how do we get artists or students into the studio.”
In order to get students into the studio the center had to film or live stream local artists. Suzanne Fine an artist involved with the project and a chair member of the outreach program explained how they were able to tailor this to young students.
“The way we handled it was to do it in probably five minute increments so that the teachers could play it for however long the attention span went,” said Fine. “Or they could pause it at a certain a spot and then talk about what we had talked about and review it before they go on.”
McFalls said one of the main reasons they wanted to continue the program is to show students that you can be an artist right here in Columbus. Meaning you don’t have to be in a big city like New York for this to be a potential career path.
The interim director also said since moving the program online they’ve been able to reach even more students.
“When you bring one artist into the school they only have that impact with those 30 kids they’re with that day and that’s it,” said McFalls. “Now they can have an impact across the school district even into Harris County, I mean just regionally, you know teachers can use this product.”
Fine also added that it was important to make sure kids knew how to funnel their frustrations and emotions while dealing with the unusual experience a global pandemic has caused.
“We felt like this particular situation where even as adults are having a hard time trying to figure out what’s going on it would be really easier for them to start to funnel it into a creative situation.” said Fine.