Artsbridge bringing Art Encounters program to local schools

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 2:50 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Artsbridge‘s 2021 Art Encounters program is underway, though it looks a bit different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a typical year, the educational program for middle school students entails bringing about 10 students from several local middle schools to the Actors’ Guild of Parkersburg to watch a performance and meet the cast, followed by an interactive afternoon at the Parkersburg Art Center.

This year, Artsbridge is taking three art presenters to each of the participating schools, including Belpre Middle School and the Wood County middle schools with the exception of Williamstown, which had scheduling conflicts. In the morning, potter MJ Lemon, owner of the Watering Can Art Studio will host a two-hour pottery workshop, then Brent Null of the Actors’ Guild will teach a theater workshop, and finally, Suzy Gunter of the Mid-Ohio Valley Ballet Company will host a dance and choreography workshop.

While group size will still be kept small to allow both for social distancing and maximum participation, groups can be larger this year than in a typical year because there will be no bussing limitations. During the 2021 program, about 20 students will participate at each school, and they will be selected by their art teachers.

The first school to participate was Belpre Middle School, whose sixth-graders took part on Friday. The school’s seventh- and eight-graders, who attend school in a separate building, will participate at a later date.

Amanda Stevens, executive director of Artsbridge, noted that the organization is pleased to have the opportunity to continue with the program despite the pandemic.

“I’m glad we’re still able to provide arts opportunities this year because it has been a game of wait and see, we can’t plan too far in advance without knowing what the COVID numbers are going to do...We were so thrilled that this was able to happen this year,” Stevens said. “It’s good because we’re giving our artists more opportunities to work and we’re able to reach more students,” she added.

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