On Jan. 5, 12 energetic Sto-Rox Middle School students entered the Father Ryan Arts Center (FRAC), kicking off a comprehensive 18-week arts program. Facilitated by the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation, this new program brings four of Pittsburgh’s finest artists to the FRAC, supplementing a Sto-Rox arts education that has lacked funding in recent years.
Led by vocalist Anqwenique Wingfield, Darrell Kinsel of BOOM Concepts, community organizer Bekezela Mguni and dance instructor Trevor Miles, this program offers the middle school students a holistic appreciation of the arts, teaching them elements of singing, visual art, spoken word, and dance, respectively. Such variation within the arts will enable these students to learn and become familiar with different types of expression, teaching them how to flex different creative muscles.
Supported by an $8,500 grant from the community development partner, Neighborhood Allies, and funding provided by the Sto-Rox Middle School, the middle schoolers have a unique opportunity to learn from Pittsburgh’s highest caliber artists.
At the program’s conclusion in May, the students will showcase what they learned during the past 18 weeks. At this culminating event, our students will demonstrate to community members, friends and family the ever-present need to continue investing in arts education.
Indeed, this program seeks to grow – perhaps doubling and tripling its size – in the following years, because such an experience should not be limited to 12 students. In the meantime, though, these 12 students are ready to make some art.