Through the support of the W.C. English Foundation, the Academy Center of the Arts launched our first Summer Arts Week, in partnership with the Altavista Area YMCA.
From June 19th through June 23rd, over 250 campers, ages four to thirteen, took visual and performing arts classes with Academy Center of the Arts and Kid Pan Alley instructors at their local YMCA. Through this program, campers were able to participate and develop their skills in drawing, creative writing, drama, and improvisation. While a few campers had experienced these activities in the past, the majority of them were experiencing these areas of the arts for the first time!
“What made [Summer Arts Week] so neat was seeing the kids have so much fun while learning new skills,” said Evan Smith, Director of Outreach at the Academy Center of the Arts. In addition to the arts, campers also developed “skills like public speaking, teamwork, confidence, and creativity which they can use throughout their lifetime.”
In addition to the classes listed above, another 90 campers also had the opportunity to participate in a songwriting class and public performance with Kid Pan Alley, company led by Paul Reisler that dedicates itself to helping kids “become creators of their own music and to rekindle creativity as a core value in education”.
Kid Pan Alley has inspired 35,000 children across the US to write and perform over 2,500 original songs. Some of those songs have been recorded on three commercial CDs featuring artists including Sissy Spacek, Delbert McClinton, Kix Brooks, Cracker, Amy Grant, The Nashville Chamber Orchestra and many others. The albums have won numerous awards including a WAMMIE, Parents’ Choice Gold and Silver Honors, and NAPPA Gold Award, as well as a Grammy nomination.
In just two ninety-minute sessions, campers brainstormed, wrote, and rehearsed a group song that was then performed on Friday, June 23rd, at Altavista High School in front of their friends and family! The songs were based on topics like social media use, bullying, best friends, marriage and finding your soul mate, and counting. Below, we’ve included some lyrics from each song that was performed.
Programs like these are vital to Lynchburg and surrounding area children. “Many public school art programs have lost funding recently and it is up to the surrounding community to step up to the plate and offer programs just like this one,” said Smith. “The Academy Center of the Arts hopes to continue its relationship with the Altavista YMCA to provide more camps and programs like Kid Pan Alley and other art instruction to promote the importance of art in kids’ lives.”
“In the end, the hope is that each child that comes through any ACOA arts program leaves with not just their new masterpiece, but a newfound appreciation for art and learning.”
“Whether you Like it or Not”
You can send a picture, snap a chat
and in an instant, I’ll know where you’re at
but in my grandma’s age
you’d have to send a letter
and sometimes you’d have to wait forever and ever
whether you like it or not.
“He’s got a Friend”
He was sittin’ at a table in the corner of the room
no one to talk to on a rainy afternoon
no one knows his name, everyday’s the same
he’s sad and lonly, and if only
he had a friend.
“Hit your Target, Make your Goal”
Hit your target, make your goal,
find your destiny it’s in your soul.
It’s all about timing, teamwork, and coordination,
and most of all what’s in your imagination!
You gotta get active, keep your body fit,
build up your muscle – won’t happen if you sit.
Eat healthy food, not a bunch of junk.
Forget about the cookies, just say yuck!
“There’s got to be Intelligent Life”
How do we know which way the stars are pointing?
Some are pointing this way, some point that.
Some point North, some point South, some go left, some go right.
But, I love the stories they tell me at night
and there’s got to be intelligent life.
“Count to 1000”
I can count to 100, count to 100,
but I can’t count to forever
cause that’s a mightly long time.
And that’s how long, we’ll be best friends,
forever and ever, and a day!
“You and Your Best Friend”
You’re gonna have to like each other for a whole bunch of years,
through the laughter and tears.
You’ll share a lot of dreams, and a lot that’s in between.
I’ll tell you what I mean.
You and your best friend.