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RAC Expands Reach of St. Louis Canvass Project

Free youth-engagement program leverages arts and culture to teach students life skills

ST. LOUIS (Sept. 27, 2019) — For the second year, the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC), the largest funder of the arts in the St. Louis region, will offer the St. Louis Canvass Project, a free youth engagement program designed for local students in grades 6-8 that uses the arts to unlock skills students need to succeed in life – problem-solving, collaboration, communication, imagination, and creativity – with a special emphasis on leadership development.

The St. Louis Canvass Project is free to students that live in one of the following school districts: St. Louis Public Schools, School District of University City, Normandy Schools Collaborative, Ritenour School District, Jennings School District, Riverview Gardens School District, Ferguson-Florissant School District, and Hazelwood School District. Students living outside of those school districts wishing to participate may do so with a fee.

“Middle school is an important time to build confidence and learn skills needed to succeed beyond the classroom,” said Erika Fiola, director of strategic initiatives and community partnerships at RAC. “We were overwhelmed by the interest and positive feedback we received from program participants in the first year of the St. Louis Canvass Project, and we’re excited to begin year two of the program and offer more students creative and engaging ways to learn through art.”

Seventy-five students participated in the inaugural year of the program in 2018, which took place over an eight-month period. This year, to meet the growing interests of the programs, the St. Louis Canvass Project will offer separate three-month sessions, one in the fall and one in the spring. Students have the option to register for one or both sessions. Students will meet one Saturday a month, with the fall session beginning September 28, at four community host sites:

  • Regional Arts Commission: 6128 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112
  • Beyond Housing: 6506 Wright Way, St. Louis, MO 63121
  • Intersect Art Center: 3636 Texas Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118
  • Central Print: 2624 N 14th St, St. Louis, MO 63106

During the St. Louis Canvass Project sessions, students will receive arts-based instruction from professional teaching artists, who specialize in a variety of artistic disciplines, including visual arts, music, dance, and theater. The curriculum, inspired by the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education, provides students with hands-on opportunities to explore and understand the arts through “imaginative learning.” Following the classroom session, students will explore the St. Louis arts and culture scene through off-site excursions to local museums, theaters, and other cultural venues.

For more information on the St. Louis Canvass Project, visit stlcanvass.org.

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