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MICA Undergraduates Help High School Students Map a Creative Future

MICA’s Community Art and Service Program and the AmeriCorps VISTA program continue partnership

Posted 02.28.14 by mica communications

MICA undergraduate students help create ACCE mural.

MICA's Community Art and Service program, part of the Student Activities Office, continues its partnership with the Maryland-DC Campus Compact (MDCCC) AmeriCorps VISTA program. Currently in year two, the grant-based initiative works with Baltimore City high schools, particularly those with a high number of students receiving free and reduced lunches, to offer weekly College Access Art Club classes.

"The core of the project is to promote college access to local high school students using art as a vehicle," said Kristen Smith, assistant director of Student Activities for Community Arts at MICA.

The classes, assisted by Mercedes Hightower, a member of the AmeriCorps VISTA program, and taught by MICA Community Site Leaders (CSLs), are held on MICA's campus and at several high schools throughout the city. MICA's undergraduate students act as mentors and teachers to high schools students with the ability to plan their own unique and creative lesson plans. The classes cover both digital media and the fine arts with each lesson incorporating an overarching focus on college access themes.

In the first year of the project, the art clubs' emphasis on college access helped students focus on developing skills relevant to college-level study, using art as a developmental tool. The clubs encourage students with talents in creative fields to hone their skills and develop portfolios for applications to art and design-oriented college programs. The classes also provide high school students with less art focused interests as an opportunity to express themselves and learn how to accentuate other talents in their college applications.

In fall 2013, all students in Baltimore City's 29 active high schools had access to the College Access Art Clubs held on MICA's campus. Over the course of the semester, 70 high school students attended one or more meetings. Western High School and the Academy for College and Career Exploration also hosted clubs on their campus specifically focused on projects of interest to their student body. Both College Access Art Clubs classes on MICA's campus and selected high school campuses in Baltimore City will continue in spring 2014.

For more information on the College Access Art Club or the Community Art and Service Program, please contact Kristen Smith, assistant director of Student Activities for Community Arts, at 410.225.2284.

Image captions (top to bottom): MICA undergraduates help create an Academy for College and Career Exploration mural; and Western High School mural.