On Saturday, Sept. 27 a program in its second year on the SUNY New Paltz campus launched – The Saturday Arts Lab. This event will take place every Saturday until Nov. 15 in the School of Performing Arts. This program encourages students to explore and enhance their artistic abilities.
“It’s wonderful to have the excitement and the energy of young people on-campus. They bring so much enthusiasm and creativity to our classes,” said coordinator of the Saturday Arts Lab, Professor Jessica Poser.
According to the New Paltz website, this program offers an array of education programming in the visual arts, theater and music for students from kindergarten through high school seniors. Each program is carefully designed and specified for the age and experience of the students in the region.
Although college students are not able to participate, art students on campus still have an opportunity to get involved.
“In the Fall, advanced Art Education students enrolled in ARE 303: Theory and Practice in Art Education taught by Dr. Aaron Knochel, teach in teams under the supervision of art education faculty,” Poser said.
In the Spring, those teaching artists are hired as SUNY faculty.
In addition to benefitting college students, this program is also beneficial to the community.
“[Saturday Arts Lab] is an important field work opportunity for art education students to get hands-on teacher training,” Knochel said. “It is a vital resource for community engagement in the college. It connects and serves community members.”
Poser said that by offering education programming in the visual arts, theater and music for children in the region, students are encouraged to explore all the unique qualities art has to offer.
“The Saturday Arts Lab provides an innovative arts laboratory in which experimentation is encouraged and investigation is supported and guided through learner-centered curriculum,” Poser said.
According to Poser, the program consists of hands-on courses and activities that encourage problem solving and critical thinking.
“There is a troubling erosion of arts learning in our public schools,” Knochel said. The experiential learning environment of the Saturday Arts Lab is vital to developing our next generation of flexible, innovative and creative thinkers.”
Poser also said this program aims to make art education exciting and accessible for young people in the region.
“The Saturday Arts Lab is a learning community that encourages innovations in curriculum development, and instructional methods and design,” Poser said. “We offer scholarships and discounts in an effort to support this and to encourage participation from all students who spend their Saturday’s making art with us!”
The community and campus is encouraged to see all of the student’s artwork and artistic accomplishments at the end of the eight weeks.
On Nov. 15 from noon to 1 p.m. an exhibit will be held to display the students’ work.