The Rockford Area Arts Council’s ArtsPlace wraps up this weekend at Riverfront Museum Park. Dance pieces, interdisciplinary performances and short films, all created by the students at ArtsPlace, will be presented in several shows. Students’ artwork has also been put on display and for sale.
Sharon Nesbit-Davis is Education & Community Engagement Director for the Rockford Area Arts Council. She says the summer arts apprenticeship program offers a unique opportunity for area teens.
“It is a both an arts program in which they gain skills in the arts, but they also learn valuable job skills. So it really becomes a work experience for them,” she says.
Nesbit-Davis says that’s because apprentices get to learn techniques from professionals in the arts, but also learn what it takes to complete their projects – and that’s useful beyond the world of art.
“Because what you do when you’re creating a piece of art is what you have to do in any kind of a job. You have to be productive. You have to solve problems. You have to have determination. For young people, it really does prepare them for the work world,” Nesbit-Davis says.
She says the apprentices at ArtsPlace appreciate that, and regularly use the program for a reference as they pursue college and careers.
ArtsPlace has been going on since 1995. Nesbit-Davis says she’s now seeing the children of some of the early participants in the program.