Fine And Performing Arts Lab

Saturday isn’t typically a day for learning, but it is now.

The Saturday Arts Lab, part of New Paltz’s School of Fine and Performing Arts’ Community Arts School, begins on Saturday, Sept. 21 and will run through Saturday, Nov. 9.

According to coordinator Jessica Poser, the program is part of a new SUNY-wide diversity initiative aimed at strengthening our ties to the community.

“The Saturday Arts Lab will be integrated into our Art Education program, providing a vital fieldwork experience for our art education teacher candidates,” Poser said. “The classes are taught by SUNY New Paltz faculty, local arts educators and professionals as well as advanced art education students under the supervision of faculty. We believe that this diversity of instruction will be a real strength of the program and foster interdisciplinary collaboration.”

The program will provide visual arts, theater and music classes for children grades K through 12 and is referred to as a “lab” because of the encouragement in experimentation it offers.

It is developed around age level and media exploration and welcomes all participants regardless of their prior experience.

Need-based scholarships for the program are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis and by determination using the federal eligibility guidelines for free and reduced lunch.

“The idea for the Saturday Arts Lab came from two perspectives,” Aaron Knochel, assistant professor of art education and one of the Saturday Arts Lab’s future instructors, said.

“First is the commitment that New Paltz faculty and students feel toward developing a vibrant art culture within the communities that we live and serve. And second is the desire to bring new audiences to the arts and the cultural resources of the SUNY New Paltz campus.”

Some of the lab’s instructors include art education students who are mandated to teach in place of their Fieldwork 3 placements.

Students instructing the lab will be separated into groups of three to five  and will each be assigned an age to teach.

Since this is the first year the department has decided to implement the teaching of this lab in place of a fieldwork course, many of the practices are experimental, according to Jillian Hauck, a fourth-year art education and Spanish double-major, who will be one of the lab’s instructors.

Even though Hauck is nervous to begin teaching the new program, she said she looks forward to the opportunity.

“I am super excited about what kind of students will come and participate with us,” she said. “I’m also excited about how much experience I will gain teaching and observing other teaching candidates through the implementation of this program.”

Poser is very hopeful about the program and as an educator is determined to make the Saturday Arts Lab known as more than “extracurricular.”

Her goal is to ensure that participants feel as though they are members of “an inclusive learning community that is committed to and passionate about the arts.”