As the coronavirus pandemic affects communities around the world, classrooms across the globe have quickly pivoted from in-person instruction to virtual learning, including the Cathedral Arts Project’s visual and performing arts afterschool programs.
In a matter of days, CAP administrative staff and full-time teaching artist fellows launched virtual classes for theatre, dance, strings and art therapy. Using a variety of platforms, including YouTube, Google Classroom, Zoom and Instagram, teaching artists are creating content and meeting virtually with their students to ensure they continue to receive a quality arts education during this uncertain, and often unsettling time.
“It is more important than ever that children be equipped to use the arts to explore and process their anxiety and other emotions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said The Rev. Kimberly L. Hyatt, CAP President & CEO. “It must feel as though the earth is shifting beneath their feet, and children can’t help but notice and absorb the stress of those around them. When children experience the arts, even virtually, it can change their experience of life. When they see they can create something, that sense of self-efficacy increases their resilience and gives them the determination to keep putting the pieces together to create positive change.”
CAP is transitioning its current afterschool classes to virtual classes and providing guidelines and support to its teaching artists for the remainder of the school year. Select class videos are available to the general public who wish to learn about musical theatre or follow along with a dance class; however, only currently enrolled CAP students will be able to interact directly with their teaching artists.
In addition to providing virtual arts learning opportunities, CAP will also provide more than 1,000 at-home art kits to Duval County Public Schools to distribute to students in need. Thanks to funding from PNC Bank and The Jim Moran Foundation, supply donations from the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and a partnership with Reddi-Arts, the kits will be created and delivered to DCPS for distribution. Each art kit includes a sketch book, graphite and colored pencils, pencil sharpener, watercolors and paint brush, crayons and an eraser.
“An important part of the continuation of arts education through Duval HomeRoom is access to art materials,” said Laurie Hoppock, DCPS Supervisor of the Arts. “We are so excited to partner with the Cathedral Arts Project to extend the ways in which we can support some of our families in need. It is partnerships like these that ensure our community can thrive during these unprecedented times.”
The driving force of CAP’s programs is the belief that the arts matter – that they provide essential skills like perseverance and teamwork that can benefit the children in our community now more than ever. CAP is committed to continuing to provide quality arts education to as many children as possible during these unprecedented times, and believes every child should have the opportunity to transform their life through the arts.