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Fine Arts Center's Arts Arising Program in full swing

Posted: June 20, 2014 9:37 a.m.
Updated: June 20, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Debbie Gregory, right, helps a student with her clay project.

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The Fine Arts Center (FAC) of Kershaw County is proud to produce the Arts Arising Summer Program again this year. This special arts program which began in 1988 through a partnership with the Kershaw County School District, serves third through sixth grade students identified as gifted or talented in visual arts, music, drama and dance. Auditions are held for rising third graders at Kershaw County Schools in January and February, then the selected students are screened through another audition in March at the FAC. More than 120 children from Kershaw County schools are participating this year.

Arts Arising is an arts immersion program serving third through sixth grade artistically gifted and talented students. In its 24th year, this collaborative effort serves students each year. Since its inception, this program has reached more than 2,800 students in the community. These students spend four weeks each summer in this extraordinary program on the campus of the FAC where the depth of instruction and an atmosphere of total arts immersion define each day.

The program allows students to develop and grow towards their full potential in a supportive environment that challenges them to move past the expected. Arts Arising seeks to create art experiences that stimulate mental and aesthetic progress. It is structured to illustrate the interrelationship between the various forms of art through student work in all disciplines. Students are taught that all artists deal with the same elements and principles of art and the vocabulary of one discipline makes sense in another.

Arts Arising allows students and teachers to totally immerse themselves in the arts. Comprehensive classes in the students’ strong arts areas are coupled with interdisciplinary classes and daily performances by, and discussions with, visiting professional artists. Curricula materials stress advanced understanding, skills and knowledge in the arts, as well as exploration of the many roles of the artist: critic, historian, aesthetician, producer and performer. Arts Arising students are provided the opportunity to:

• expand knowledge, technique and practice in a chosen art form;

• study art forms and their common elements and principles in a variety of disciplines;

• experience first-hand the work of professional artists;

• refine problem-solving and self-evaluation skills through self-discovery, experimentation and research; and

• express feelings, moods, problems, and solutions verbally, in writing and through various modes of artistic expression.

"Arts Arising is a wonderful opportunity for our young artists," Kershaw County School District Superintendent Frank Morgan said. "Their daily hands-on experiences and interaction with high quality instructors provides these students with a learning environment that is second to none."

"There are children blossoming in the arts all over the place," Jami Steele, Director of Education & Theatre for the FAC said. This is Steele’s first year in this position after taking over the duties of long-time FAC Educational Director, Steve Levan, who retired this spring after more than 20 years.

Steele said that students go through the process of learning to "affirm the visiting artists. The kids ask artists questions and learn the appropriate way to be an audience member -- how to pay attention and how to give critique."

Steele also praised the students and teachers participating in the Arts Arising Program.

"The kids are special. They’re really the cream of the crop," she said. "The teachers are so wonderful and skilled. They have the kids in the palm of their hands."

The teachers have years of experience teaching in their fields, Steele noted.

The instructors are:

• Helen Walker -- music;

• Angie Lawson -- music;

• Katy Dallas -- dance;

• Leah Carlander -- dance;

• Debbie Gregory -- visual arts;

• Vic Cain -- visual arts;

• Amy Pederson -- theatre; and

• Khamilah Dillard -- theatre.

The FAC of Kershaw County is at 810 Lyttleton St., in Camden. Office hours are Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about the FAC call 425-7676, extension 300 or visit the FAC website at

The FAC is funded in part by the Frederick S. Upton Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the city of Camden, Kershaw County and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina along with donations from businesses and individuals.


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