Sometimes we can learn the most about the impact of a program that we offer directly from the students we serve.
So we wanted to share comments from some of the students who participated in our IDEAL (Intentional Designs of Expression in Artistic Languages) residency this spring. Remarks from students at Virginia Beach’s College Park Elementary and Portsmouth’s Westhaven Elementary are divided into the categories that we measure before, during, and after the residency to determine gains: self-worth, community connectedness, and creative expression.
Emma, College Park, 5th grade: “It showed me I could really be anything I want to be.”
Sadé, College Park, 5th grade: “I want to teach others how to do art. It’s very inspiring. It makes you feel like you can do other things that you thought that you couldn’t do in art. And that’s why I love Arts for Learning.”
Deniya, Westhaven, 5th grade: “I learned you can do what you want to do. You just have to keep practicing. Don’t let anybody make you come down, just keep trying and trying… And you might end up being an artist if you keep trying.”
Harmony, Westhaven, 5th grade: “I got a lot more friends in my life. They made us sit at different tables so we could get to know each other, and it really helped a lot. I’m very shy. I got put into a room full of new people I didn’t know, at least most of them. I guess I had to branch out… I feel like Arts for Learning made me into a better person.”
Samantha, Westhaven, 6th grade: “Arts for Learning was important because it helped you connect with who you are and your identity.” (Samantha had noted that she was Filipino on her mother’s side and used to visit cousins in the Philippines prior to Covid. She said she had done research about the Philippines as part IDEAL.)
Sadé, College Park, 5th grade: “I’m more excited when I do art. It makes my heart burst.”
Mark, Westhaven, 6th grade: “I created a phoenix, and it was really inspiring because it shows my personality, like the power of the phoenix. It’s a sock puppet so it’s silly and goofy but on the inside it’s powerful and meaningful. The project changed how I saw myself because I expressed my inner personality.”
Kerrington, College Park, 5th grade: “Before I joined [the IDEAL residency], I wasn’t really artistic because I didn’t think I could do the things I wanted to do. When I joined Arts for Learning, it was really fun because I got to paint, do watercolors, and sculptures…. Anytime I go home, I have paint and canvases in my room, and I just paint nonstop. And my mom tells me to go to bed and I’m like, ‘No, I’ve got to paint.’”
Mary, Westhaven, 5th grade: “I realized that I could express myself in different ways instead of just talking about it. I can express myself through singing or dancing or painting or drawing. Arts for Learning has helped me a lot because I learned I can express myself in different ways.”
Raenah, Westhaven, 5th grade: “I’ve changed the way I express myself going to [the IDEAL residency] because I learned that I don’t have to just speak the way I feel, I can draw it out, dance it out, sing it out, or do it all types of ways. My favorite way of showing my feelings is painting. I can show it if I’m mad, happy, sad, or any other emotion. The painting I did for the Chrysler Museum I basically just put lots of fun and colorful things because I feel like it describes how I am most of the time because I’m mostly happy.”
Many thanks to Hannah Sobol and Jackie Glass of Heard Productions for conducting interviews with students at the Chrysler Museum.
The IDEAL student art exhibit is still on display and available for the public to view through Sunday, June 11. Admission to the Chrysler Museum is free. The artwork can be viewed at the Margaret Shepherd Ray Family and Student Gallery.