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 Outreach Initiative:
Altavista YMCA Summer Programming
The Academy collaborated with the Altavista YMCA to have an arts week during their summer programming. As part of the week, we hired instructors to facilitate activities such as dance, improv, spoken word, and song writing. Children were also able to attend a field trip to the Academy for a play. Overall 250 children were impacted.
The community comes to hear from artists in the Academy’s network. Artists being showcased in the Academy’s galleries share their process, perspective, and story.
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.
Boys and Girls Club Thanksgiving Dinner
Each November the Academy donates our gallery space to the Lynchburg Boys and Girls club for their annual Thanksgiving dinner.
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.
Free Arts Pilot
In 2018, the Academy will run a pilot program that provides free arts programming to youth in need through the use of organized volunteer screening and management. This pilot will be modeled after programs executed by Free Arts Arizona. Improved volunteer engagement and organization will allow the Academy to impact more underserved populations.
Habitat for Humanity Bluegrass Concert
Each year, the Academy partners with the Amherst County Habitat for Humanity organization for their annual Bluegrass concert. Funds from this concert directly benefit Habitat for Humanity and those they serve.
Hill City Keys
Pianos designed by middle, high school, and college students are placed around downtown Lynchburg. From spring to fall, the program energizes downtown as passersby marvel at the pianos and play them. The Academy organizes musicians and performers at the pianos.
Healthy Snacks and Cinema
The Academy screens a monthly children’s film. A representative from the Virginia Cooperative Extension teaches a nutritional lesson, provides healthy snacks, and shares nutrition information packets. The program works with youth from groups like the community centers, Boys & Girls Club, and the Jubilee Family Development Center.
Kids Out Loud
Third and fifth-grade students at RS Payne Elementary School write and perform songs with the help of two singers/songwriters. Students learn how to creatively collaborate with their peers. The program ends with a final performance in front of friends and family.
Our scholarships ensure that Academy programming is affordable to those in need. So far, the Academy has given out over $30,000 in scholarships to over 600 students this fiscal year.
Non-Profit Discounted Facility Rentals
Local non-profits’ events are hosted in our attractive well-equipped venue for a discounted rate. This has allowed groups like the Boys and Girls Club as well as the Amherst Habitat for Humanity.
We bring in traveling theatre and dance companies for area public schools.
YMCA of Central Virginia’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program
The Academy collaborates with our local YMCA’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program. Over six weeks, the Academy provides arts enrichment classes. This allows for youth from Altavista, Amherst, Appomattox, and Lynchburg to receive free arts education. The program has grown from 150 to 177 youth.