Last year, ACM taught 70 children. This year, the Summer Youth Art Institute taught almost 400 young people the basics of art.
Students from ages 5 to 12 came and learned how to mix colors, use various media, draw with perspective, try self-portraits and much more. They each went home with new-found skills and a fresh set of art supplies, all of which they will use for years. This community effort partially fills the unfortunate gap in art instruction created by ongoing school budget cuts.
This year's first group of students started at 9 a.m. Monday, June 17 at Quail Valley Elementary. A second group started there at 11 a.m. the same day. From Monday through Friday, they had fun and excellent instruction from experienced art teachers, supplemented by others generously volunteering their time.
Friday evening from 6 to 7:30 p.m., they returned to the school with their parents, grandparents and siblings. The occasion was a special reception to see artwork by the budding artists. The massive turnout of more than 450 people was a clear indication of how much the families appreciated the value of this program. Councilman Tom Fuhrman, Superintendent Jonathan Greenberg and others were there to show their support. It was a moving occasion for all involved. The young artists' enthusiasm and pride in their accomplishments lit up the school that evening. The school's principal expressed his great appreciation to Arts Council Menifee and everyone involved.
This year's second group was at Romoland Elementary. Students there started on Monday, June 24 and then followed a very similar schedule. Like Quail Valley, Romoland was chosen because of its high concentration of low-income households. At 6 p.m. Friday, June 28, a large group of Romoland family members came with their young artists to see and take home bags filled with the newly-created artwork and brand new art supplies.
On hand were representatives from the City Terri Willoghby and Margarita Cornejo. Also present were Acting Romoland School District Superintendent Hilda Swain and David Fox from Romoland Elementary. They all showed their support and thanked ACM for a job well done.
The City of Menifee supported this program with a Community Development Block Grant of $10,000 approved in 2012. Southern California Edison contributed a very helpful $2,000. The Assistance League of Temecula was also very generous, donating $2,000 in arts supplies.
Plans for a similar program in 2014 are taking shape and may include music and/or dance as well. Arts Council Menifee looks forward to teaching low-income students next year and for years to come.