Young people in our community deserve opportunities to explore the arts widely and deeply. The Jacksonville Center’s youth programming seeks to offer pathways to engagement with the arts that celebrate the creative potential of our young people, enhance the development of critical thinking and learning in academic domains, and promote personal development and community.
The Jax has been offering organized youth programs since the opening of our residential craft school in 2005. We currently offer several annual youth events (Kids Creativity Jubilee, Kids Art Camp, and Halloween Kidfest), a weekly Afternoon Arts class for 4 to 8 and 9 to 12 year-olds, as well as our growing Floyd Art Reach (FAR) project.
The mission of the FAR project is to provide free access to art experiences to the youth in our community; we hope to offer youth the opportunity to see the creativity in themselves and in their region, and to communicate the message that art is happening here and now, that it is current, local, tangible, and possible. While focused on in-school and after-school partnerships with local public and private schools, FAR also includes a Teacher Creativity Development series, an annual Youth and Student Exhibit (annually from December through January), and we hope to develop an High-school mentorship program.
The Jacksonville Center has a wealth of artist-instructors interested in art and cultural education, all of whom are capable of facilitating hands-on learning experiences in a variety of media. Our educational services expose youths to traditional, contemporary, and vocational arts.
Creative expression is a part of this region’s heritage, and with the guidance and opportunities that the center provides, youth in our region will see artists as real people and make the connection that art is something that they can do into adulthood, as both a livelihood and great passion.