GreenHill in Greensboro, NC, has been awarded $21,500 from Lincoln Financial Foundation. With this support, GreenHill will continue to offer free Group Visits for underserved children, workshops for parents and caregivers and expand our curriculum to better accommodate special needs children and adults.
Since 2011, GreenHill has served 18,000 individuals through the support of Lincoln Financial Foundation. Research shows that sustained participation in the arts is of significant benefit to learners. A seminal longitudinal study examining the importance of sustained arts in the development of children demonstrated that intensive involvement in the arts was associated with higher levels of achievement, college attainment, and prosocial behavior.
The free Group Visits will serve programs affiliated with Guilford Child Development, United Way of Greater Greensboro’s Thriving at Three sites, Parents as Teachers, Title I schools, the Greensboro Area Autism Society of North Carolina and other organizations working with underserved populations. Through a two part tour, participants visit The Gallery to view the most current exhibition and create art in the ArtQuest Studios. During Group Visits learning outcomes target visual literacy by teaching strategies for looking at and discussing works of art, strengthening fine motor skills, fostering social and emotional development and strengthening higher level cognitive skills such as critical thinking. In order to solicit parental involvement, GreenHill will facilitate parent workshops for those organizations that work directly with parents. These workshops will blend an art curriculum with the “Raising a Reader” curriculum and will be delivered at the organization’s site. New this year, GreenHill will add curriculum to accommodate children and adults with autism spectrum disorders.
Jaymie Meyer, GreenHill’s Director, Youth and Education Programs explains a new component to the program, “The main thing that is different this year is that we are partnering with groups focused on the autistic that will help us develop the curriculum designed for them. We already have these groups coming to us, but we’ve never developed something that is exactly for this population. I know there are things we need to focus on more with this population, and the specialized staff has specific ways of working with them that I would never know. For instance, many of the clients are not verbal, so the ways to communicate with them may be gestural, or through demonstrating and signaling for them. Another great thing about this program is that many of these people have been coming here for a while. When they first came to GreenHill there was a lot of trepidation, now when they come in, I see the clients rushing through the door knowing exactly where they want to go. This is so important – they are able to build confidence and have structure.”
“Most of our participants are also visiting a gallery or art studio for the first time where they are learning new art vocabulary and experimenting with new art materials. The time spent in The Gallery is designed to promote aesthetic awareness and to help participants connect the work to their own experiences,” explains Laura Way, GreenHill’s Executive Director.
GreenHill’s fall 2017 exhibition, “Two Artists, One Space”, is a perfect example of how works of art can elicit greater understanding of culture and ideas. The exhibition will feature an African American artist creating work investigating the black experience in the South, and a Peruvian American artist whose work explores the immigrant experience. “Our goal during this exhibition will be for viewers to develop a greater appreciation of how culture informs art and how their own experiences can inform the work they create,” says Way.
During the art making leg of the tour, GreenHill’s education staff guides participants through their own unique art making experience in GreenHill’s studio-based learning environment. Laura Maruzzella, GreenHill’s Art Educator + Volunteer Coordinator regularly leads the Group Visits, “We have guided art making activities that relate to the exhibition, but we also have open-ended art making activities. I think both are important for our participants in different ways. Our guided activities connect what they have heard and seen in The Gallery and reiterates language that they’ve learned. On the flip side, we have opportunities for them to do self-guided art making which is pretty unique because a lot of arts programs in schools just simply don’t allow time for that. Here children get to create on their own without being limited by instruction. When children are afforded the opportunity to create independently they tap into critical problem solving skills and avenues for self-expression that they would not otherwise discover about themselves, not to mention confidence and independence. Plus it’s fun.”
Lifelong learning through the visual arts has been at the forefront of GreenHill’s mission since its inception in 1974. Children who live at or below the poverty level have limited access to activities outside of the school setting, especially in the arts. The Education Equality Index in March 2016 reported the achievement gap between low-income children and their “more advantaged” peers is growing at a faster rate in North Carolina than in any other state in the nation, with Greensboro and Winston-Salem having larger gaps than more than 70% of major United States cities. The achievement gap, some have argued is not just a problem within the confines of formal education, but is also caused by a dearth of opportunity for low income students. Data suggests that outside experiences are just as meaningful as test scores when it comes to a child’s success later in life.
GreenHill is located at 200 North Davie Street, in the Greensboro Cultural Center. GreenHill is the center for NC art and promotes the visual arts of North Carolina by engaging a broad community of artists, adults and children through dynamic exhibitions and educational programs while providing a platform for exploration and investment in art.
For more information visit (www.GreenHillnc.org).