The Derby Recreation Commission ARTspot provides classes in the visual arts, dance, theater and technology for both youth and adults taught by inspiring and talented professional artists and educators. The youth and adult studio arts education program employs a strong curriculum emphasizing the creative process, rather than the product. Youth and adult dance programs offer a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere to learn the basics of dance and make a few friends along the way. Youth theater program offers classes year round with performances in front of a live audience.
Classes offered by the DRC ARTspot provide students with a foundation knowledge and understanding of the principles art while encouraging individual experimentation and a sustainable appreciation for the arts.
Why Participate In Art Classes?
Participating in art programs can:
- lead to a better understanding of your local community
- improve mental functions and problem solving skills
- build a community through collaboration
- gain increased self-understanding and self-confidence while also developing their communication skills and capacities for emotional expression
- developing confidence, self discipline and self esteem
- improving communication skills and developing teamwork skills
- broadening young people’s horizons through new experiences
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Preliminary research suggests that adults who engage in arts learning programs receive academic benefits from their participation, and that adults also continue to reap academic benefits of childhood arts education in later stages of life. In one study, musicians who had intensive early arts education exhibited significantly increased performance learning a second language and greater improvement in expressive fluency compared to non-musicians lacking such arts education (Petitto, 2008). In another study, participants in a community mural project gained mathematics skills through the creation of art (Kang Song & Gammel, 2011).
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The arts provide avenues for adults to use creativity to solve problems, consider social issues, and express themselves. A qualitative case study of arts-based executive leadership training institutes found, for example, that participants challenged themselves to think more creatively to developed new strategies for leadership (Katz-Buinincontro, 2005). In other studies, participants in community-based arts programs used the creative process to investigate social issues such as prejudice and racism (Clover, 2006; Grace & Wells, 2007).
Problem Solving and ReasoningStudies connect arts learning among adults with a variety of reasoning and problem-solving skills. In one study, for instance, research with older adults found connections between theatrical work and reduced cognitive decline associated with aging (Noice & Noice, 2006). Working to memorize and act out lines from a script helped study participants with problem solving and word recall. In another study, adult participants in an arts-based executive leadership program used creative capacities developed through the arts to navigate and manage problems (Katz-Buinincontro, 2005).
Preliminary research suggests that the arts are an avenue for adults to develop and exercise leadership skills. One study found that arts-based executive leadership training helped adult participants develop leadership skills including challenging their own perceptions, navigating and managing problems, and developing interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies (Katz-Buinincontro, 2005).
Studies find that adult learners who participate in arts programs gain increased self-understanding and self-confidence while also developing their communication skills and capacities for emotional expression. One study, for example, found that a project that used storytelling to address social, economic, and political issues with adults who had low educational attainment helped participants to transform their feelings of inadequacy into positive perceptions poising them for educational success (Wiessner, 2005).
Self-Awareness, Self-Concept, and Self-Expression
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Social and Civic Outcomes
Childhood arts education is connected with later adult participation in the arts. A longitudinal study found that young people who have arts education are more likely to participate in the arts as adults, and to create or perform works of art (Rabkin & Hedberg, 2011). Another study based on survey research connects early participation in extracurricular music with the development of attitudes toward music that individuals carry into later life (Pitts, 2008).
Community and Civic Engagement
Research finds that the arts are a medium through which adult learners can develop deeper engagement with their communities. Several studies documented ways that adult participation in the arts helped to engage and build community among sub-sets of groups as well as neighborhoods. One study found that community members’collaboration on a large-scale ecological mural project engendered community conversations and cultural exchange (Kang Song & Gammel, 2011). In another study, a storytelling program engaged adults with low educational attainment in arts programming, which addressed social, economic, and political issues within community constructs (Weissner, 2005). Research suggests that community arts programs need to take place in a safe setting to allow for the building of community through collaboration and recognition of accomplishments (Lowe, 2001).