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Arts Arising celebrating 30 years
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This is the time of year when the Fine Arts Center (FAC) of Kershaw County is jam-packed with kids immersing themselves in the arts -- music, visual art, dance, and drama. This year, more than 120 children are participating in this 30-year partnership with the Kershaw County School District (KCSD.)

Arts Arising is an arts immersion program serving rising 4th through 6th grade artistically gifted and talented students. This year, as the FAC celebrates 30 years, FAC Education and Theatre Director Jami Steele deems this year’s theme as “Celebrate,” as it marks an important milestone for arts education in Kershaw County.

“Our Arts Arising partnership with the Fine Arts Center is an extremely important part of the district’s arts program because it gives our artistically talented students the opportunity to continue to develop their talents during the summer months,” retiring KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said.” I have been both excited and gratified by the way the district and the Fine Arts Center have collaborated over the past several years to evolve and improve the program and increase the diversity of the students served. This is truly a model partnership.”

“Because of this amazing partnership with KCSD, and our strong team of talented and dedicated arts teachers, we are able to help shape tomorrow’s future artists in this community,” FAC Executive Director Woody Goff said.

This collaborative effort between the FAC and district serves between 120-140 students each year. Since its inception, the program has reached more than 3,100 students in Kershaw County. These students spend two to four weeks each summer in this extraordinary program on the campus of the Fine Arts Center where the depth of instruction and an atmosphere of total arts immersion define each day. The younger students (rising 3rd graders) stay a little over two weeks and on their last day participate along with the older students in an open house performance that showcases some of what the students have been learning in class. Older students continue one more week as they write, produce, and perform a full-length production based on the theme which will be presented on June 28, along with a gallery exhibition of the visual art created during the program. The exhibition will open at 6 p.m. in the Bassett Gallery followed by the Showcase at 7 p.m. in the Wood Auditorium. Both the Gallery and Showcase are open to the public.

Arts Arising allows students and teachers to totally immerse themselves in the arts. Comprehensive classes in the students’ strong arts areas -- music, visual art, dance, and theatre -- are coupled with journaling, 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 an exploration of the many roles of the artist: critic, historian, aestheticism, 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;

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

This year’s Arts Arising program ends June 28.

For more information call (803) 425-7676, visit the FAC office at 810 Lyttleton St., Camden, or visit the FAC website at Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The FAC is a 501(c)(3) organization funded in part by grants from Duke Energy, the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Camden, Kershaw County, and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, along with donations from businesses and individuals.