VICTORIA, B.C.: April, 15, 2019 – The Arts Reach Society provides free workshops in visual arts, dance, and theatre in public schools that serve the highest populations of low-income families in the Capital Region. In the photo, Riley Bond, 6, and Kenna Coppock, 6, (1 st grade student at Sidney Elementary school) work at their art projects. VICTORIA, B.C. April 15, 2019. (photograph by ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST). For City story by Pedro Arrais.

Research has shown that an early involvement in arts programs can impart important skills that reflect upon an individual’s eventual contributions to the community.

“It enables all children to receive a quality arts education that can improve their self-confidence and self-esteem,” said Anne Nilsen, president of the society.

The project, funded by the Victoria Foundation, removes the socioeconomic barriers some children face in accessing arts programming.

The free 60- to 90-minute workshops expose children to drawing and painting, printmaking, dance and theatre in school, and theatre and visual arts after school. The workshops, taught by professional artists, actors and dancers, are held in public schools that serve the highest populations of low-income families in the capital region.

“Although our program is in demand by educators throughout the region, we choose schools based on their level of need,” said Nilsen.

Classroom teachers learn new techniques and skills by observing the society’s artist-instructors. The teachers are also provided with a resource guide developed to complement the B.C. schools curriculum, so that they can build on the workshops.

Apart from arts, students learn to work with others, communicate and improve on personal management skills, said Nilsen. Workshops focus on increasing problem-solving skills and therefore resilience in participants.

The artsReach Society has hosted more than 2,000 workshops, with almost 32,000 students participating, since the program’s inception in 2005.

The not-for-profit is a nationally registered charity. Its workshop programs are made possible through grants (from the Victoria Foundation, among others), sponsorship and public donations.

For more information, go to artsreach.ca.

© 2016 artsREACH

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