JumpStArts is a new visual arts program for probation and foster youth in Mariposa County. The program supports a growing body of academic research indicating that exposing youth to art promotes emotional intelligence, a greater sense of self-worth, and critical thinking skills. This initiative brings a 20 week artist-in-residency program focused on visual literacy to at-risk youth in Mariposa and is designed to complement a strength based counseling program, which focuses on youth’s strengths and interests. The residency consists of 4, 5-week units which will be broken down into two components:
1. Art talks (50% of the program): These youth have limited or no access to art institutions, and this program brings curated art experiences to them. Utilizing the digital art collections of major museums, the gallery talk portion of these residencies will expose participants to selected artwork from around the world and encourage engagement through facilitated discussions that prompt evidentiary looking. New research suggestions children’s emotional and intellectual development is positively affected by carefully looking at works of art, talking about what they observe, backing up their ideas with evidence, listening to and contemplating the views of others, and examining a myriad of interpretations. Exposure to art affects the values of young people, making them more tolerant and empathetic. Building awareness of different people, places, and ideas through the arts helps young people appreciate and accept the differences they find in the broader world. Art experiences boost critical thinking, teaching students to take time to be more careful and thorough in how they observe the world. (J. Greene, B. Kisida, D. Bowen, The Educational Value of Field Trips, Education Next) This portion of the program will also provide contextual information and introduce vocabulary associated with visual communication that will be applied in the second component.
2. Applied Visual Communication Projects (50% of the program): The program’s artmaking component will teach the concepts and techniques introduced in the gallery talks (vantage points, composition/rule of thirds, the elements of art, the principles of design, and visual metaphor) in the fields of photography, illustration, graphic design. These engaging, goal-oriented activities are designed to provide participants with an applied skill set in the visual arts, but also nurture their existing strengths and interests thereby creating an environment for success and increasing the participants’ sense of self worth.
This program is supported by the California Arts Council’s JUMP StArts Grant Program, which supports quality arts education and artists-in-residence programs for at-risk youth within the juvenile justice system.
Partnering with us on this program is Sierra Quest Human Services, Inc.