Delta Arts Alliance readies for next series of classes
by Courtney Warren
Mar 25, 2014 | 2817 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After a successful fall semester for the Delta Arts Alliance's Arc of Success program, the recruiting process has begun for another Arc of Success program and a new class, Digital Media Arts.

Arc of Success is a six-week welding class, beginning Wednesday.

The class, under the direction of Mike Stanley, professor of art at Delta State University, meets weekly in the foundry on campus, from 3:30-5 p.m. The class is free of charge. Enrollment is open for juniors and seniors only. Due to safety concerns and restricted workspace, the class size is limited to six and students will be welcomed first come, first serve.

Rori Herbison, DAA executive director, explained the selection process and said, "This upcoming six-week session will be the third time the class has been taught, and each time, we learn something new; we improve and adapt the curriculum and most importantly, we sustain ARC of Success and its groundbreaking work. 

Our inaugural six-week session was our 'pilot' program, if you will, and we relied solely on the school administrators to select those candidates who might benefit the most from the program. We worked with East Side High School and The Walter C. Robinson Achievement Center.

"The second semester, we had students who voiced a desire to continue their instruction, as well as a family that had heard of the program and wanted to enroll their two home-schooled sons. This semester our desire is to make more of a public enrollment and find students who are excited by the opportunity. We are still collecting data and drawing conclusions about what our best method of recruitment is. Space is limited in the work area and when you are talking about only six available spots, we want to make sure we are serving the students who most want to be there."

The new Digital Media Arts program will be in partnership with the Delta Music Institute.

"Our newest offering in our growing list of partnerships and after-school programming is our Digital Media Arts class, presented in partnership with the Delta Music Institute and MobileMusicLab. The program has already kicked off, but several spots remain open in the program. We would hate to think of interested children missing out on something simply because they hadn't heard of the opportunity," said Herbison.

The class is open to junior high students, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. The class meets once a week on Tuesday from 4-5:30 p.m. at the Delta Music Institute. There is a $75 materials fee associated with the class. 

"This collaborative course will allow students to explore Digital Media Arts as they write lyrics and learn to record using iPads and other recording technology. Students will also explore the world of videography and create short movie trailers," explained Herbison, who said she is excited about this course because it implements objects people use in every day life.

"When I'm asked to define Digital Media Arts, I pull my phone from pocket or point to the computer on my desk and the tablet in back pack. It's all around us, influencing the way we consume information through our day on our varying sized screens. It's videography, sound editing, composition, design, technology, engineering all rolled into one. It's fast and fluid and constantly changing.

“These kids, in this class — they're helping keep it fast. They're aiding in moving the target because of their imagination and creativity, because of the way they and their peers connect, discern, process and engage with information. They are challenging boundaries and finding new ways to communicate and express through this digital age.

“The Delta Arts Alliance recognizes that changing paradigm, and the Delta Music Institute is a part of the changing paradigm. They are in the trenches everyday and our partnership comes from a mutual desire to see our children stay competitive with the world around them. We want our Mississippi communities leveraging their stories and their creativity in this new medium. We want them exposed to this technology in hands-on, meaningful and interactive ways that allow their voices to direct the course," she said.

When asked what would she say to those that believe it doesn't take as much talent to create something on a computer, Herbison said, "Our creative agencies have to stay vigilant in our pursuit to expose kids to as many creative opportunities as possible. There will always be a place for the traditional arts — visual arts, music and dance — in after-school programming, because the benefit is proven.

“We know students who participate in arts education are four times as likely to be recognized for academic achievement.

“We know that, but we also know that the world is changing and to stay globally competitive, we must be diligent in our work to access the best possible outlets for creativity and provide varied opportunities. It's not so much our job to make something stick for a student, but more to the point, offer as many different possibilities, expose our young people to a variety of opportunities so they can find what sticks best on their own, for themselves." 

Herbison also said, "There is another mission in our programming, as well, and it also connects back to staying globally competitive. While we would certainly hope the welding program could yield the next great outdoor sculptor, you know what, we're O.K.if it doesn't, because we know, at the very least, we have provided a roadmap to that young man or woman to have a lifelong skill that can be an employable trait. I defy you to search welding jobs and not turn back at least 30 viable job postings in this surrounding area. Art can be as much a technical, employable skill as it can be a creative pursuit. The Delta Arts Alliance is committed to advancing those opportunities and connecting those dots in our offerings and our partnerships."

Students must register for the class through the Delta Arts Alliance, by calling 662 843 3344 or e-mailing Herbison at rori@deltaartsalliance.org.