Through specific arts programming, the Academy Center of the Arts looks to provide educational resources and community enrichment through arts initiatives to our underserved population. This art activity is multifaceted. Some of the programming serves as an educational resource, some improve public safety and sparks economic development, but all improve the quality of life for our local community.
The following are a sample of the programs included in our Community Engagement and Access initiatives:
Academy in Motion
Academy in Motion is a mobile arts program that seeks to impact members of the Greater Lynchburg community by providing arts access to groups and individuals with barriers that would otherwise prevent exposure to the arts on our physical campus. In partnership with other local nonprofit organizations and social service partners, art instruction can now be executed at community centers, senior living facilities, public spaces, detention centers, and community convenings through Academy in Motion.
Altavista Art Week
Through this program partnering the Academy Center of the Arts with Altavista YMCA, 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!
Black History Month Celebrations
The Academy is partnering with local organizations to execute programming to celebrate Black History Month. We plan to have four events this winter, and we expect the number to grow in the coming years. This celebration will allow the Academy to improve relationships and have dialogues with leaders to help ensure that our organization is inclusive for all.
Building Bridges Productions, Inc., led by founder Janice Benejan, brings the theatre arts to youth from underserved backgrounds by providing an environment of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Their mission is to empower youth to develop their self-esteem, interpersonal, communication, and critical thinking skills through hands-on exposure to a variety of new cultural experiences. Benejan, has over twenty years of performance and theatre production experience. She is committed to ensuring that all communities have access to transformative experiences through the arts.
The Academy annually provides its Joy and Lynch Christian Warehouse Theatre to allow over 100 elementary and middle school students the opportunity to perform various string instruments. This event serves as a fundraiser for city-wide string music and concert programs.
Potters donate handmade bowls served with soup and bread. All proceeds are donated to Daily Bread, a Lynchburg organization dedicated to feeding the poor. We were able to raise $8000 by selling 436 bowls and 23 vases in 2017.
Monthly gallery openings, free to the public that have food and music. The Academy is exploring ways to better engage youth at these events through the use of activity sheets designed to educate children about the exhibits.
Hill City Keys
This public program allows students to transform pianos into visual works of art placed around Lynchburg. This year three pianos will be permanently placed in indoor public spaces – one painted by E.C. Glass in the lobby of the Community Health Center; one painted by Heritage High in the lobby of Lynchburg Regional Airport; and one painted by local artist Sallie Sydnor for the lobby of Lynchburg General Hospital. The remaining pianos were painted by Lynchburg College, CVCC, Lynchburg Christian Academy, New Vistas, Brookville Middle, and E.C. Glass.
Kids Out Loud
For years, the Academy’s Kids Out Loud program has been a smashing success with R.S. Payne and T.C. Miller here in Lynchburg. Now, the Academy expands the program into surrounding county elementary schools. Kids Out Loud was founded by Paddy Dougherty, a local music educator, and singer-songwriter. With Dougherty’s guidance and encouragement, students from the 3rd to 5th grade are able to write and perform their own songs through this program.“Kids Out Loud lets students learn creative problem-solving skills through song lyrics together as a class. Afterward, they have the opportunity to perform these songs for peers and family, which helps improve self-confidence and self-expression.”
Plates and Paints
Academy Center of the Arts and Virginia Cooperative Extension, team up to teach families about the intersection of nutrition and color theory through cooking and art. In this virtual classroom, families will paint, learn, and cook while discovering how color and food go together from the comfort of their own kitchens. The Eat Smart Be Active curriculum utilizes information from MyPlate. Lesson topics include the five food groups, menu planning, shopping strategies, food safety, portion control, mindful eating, and physical activity.
The Academy Center of the Arts partners with area schools to bus in students for on-site performances, classes, demos, and more.
YMCA Power Scholars
YMCA of Central Virginia partners with Lynchburg City Schools to provide Power Scholars Academy, a four-week summer learning program that combines academic instruction with fun, hands-on enrichment activities. The YMCA Power Scholars program, offers a holistic learning experience blended academics with enrichment, and social-emotional skill development, which is key to the success of this program. The program helps students gain new academic skills and prepare to return to school in the fall, ready to excel.
The program offered students learning opportunities in literacy and math in the morning hours while the afternoons were filled with enrichment that included social-emotional learning, STEAM activities, physical fitness, virtual field trips, and arts.
Education Tuition Discounts
The Academy Center of the Arts is privileged to be able to offer discounts towards our education programs for members of the Greater Lynchburg community. The education program at the Academy Center of the Arts provides transformative artistic experiences, and the Education Access Program allows new and returning students of all ages and backgrounds to gain access with the assistance of discounts at various levels. To learn more, visit this link.
In our commitment to making arts and culture accessible to all, the Academy Center of the Arts’ Community Ticket Access Program expands discounted ticket access to those in our underserved communities for whom the cost of a full-price ticket is a barrier. By providing discounted blocks of tickets for Academy presented performances and events to community organizations in our community, we will build on our commitment to sharing arts and cultural experiences and strengthen the bond of our community. To learn more, visit this link.
Discounted Facility Rentals
The Academy Center of the Arts’ mission is to serve our community through arts and culture. To ensure the accessibility of our organization and our facilities, we have created an application for non-profit organizations, groups, and individuals who are unable to afford our standard rental rates. The Academy Center of the Arts has limited funding to provide discounted rentals, so we will do our best to provide discounts for those who truly need it. To learn more, visit this link.