Library of Arts Keeps Art Alive

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By Evie Allen

DU QUOIN -- A new program in Du Quoin is keeping art alive for kids. The organization is hosting a summer camp right now.

But it's not just about helping through summer break. The group is also dedicated to filling the gap left by school budget cuts.

More than a dozen third through sixth graders are spending the week tapping into their creative side. The Library of Arts in Du Quoin is offering a Masterpiece Art Academy for kids in the month of July. It's just one means of spreading their message, Art is important.   

"This gives us a break from the harder stuff but it still teaches us," says 10-year-old Audrey Poiter.

The non-profit organization started last November as a place to hold art classes and host shows. Marketing director Ashley Greer says the group is now focusing on reaching students as schools cut art programs.

"Art isn't just all about art. It takes into math and science and literature. It helps with stress relief," expressed Greer.

She also says art helped get her through the pressures of school.

"There isn't really too much to do other than just express yourself in the assignment that you're doing. You can almost get lost in it. And it really helped with high school and grade school," she added.

Pinckneyille high school no longer offers an art program. Volunteer and board member Brittany Elswick says The Library of Arts hopes to make up for that. 

"It gives kids an outlet. And it teaches them critical thinking and how to make decisions and lets them use their creativity," says Elswick.

Which rings true for 10-year-old Poiter.      

"I'm just learning different kinds of art and I'm learning about social studies and science. There's a lot of things in art that you get to learn," she says.

In this time of budget cuts, art is often one of the first things on the chopping block. Greer says, that's frustrating because students need a place to express themselves.

Administrators hope to work with local schools to create an after-school art program. The non profit runs entirely on donations and is staffed by volunteers.
 
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