For two weeks this summer, Prince George’s County sixth through eighth grade students will be able to get a taste of the theater along with visual, dance and media arts.
The program, which starts later this month with varying dates depending on the respective art, will help expose students to outlets they may not previously have experienced, officials said.
“Those are the grades where they will have arts electives,” said Anita Lambert, supervisor of the school system’s creative arts program. “It will give them an opportunity to know if this is something they are even interested in pursuing.”
Risa Watson-Cox, 12, is one of the students already signed up for the theater portion of the program.
“I’m looking forward to having fun and trying to get the main lead,” said the seventh-grader.
Tara Watson of Upper Marlboro said her daughter, Risa, caught the acting bug last year during the school system’s Fine Arts Summer Experience, or FASE, evening program, playing Dog #1 in “The Little Red Hen.”
“I really wanted to be the little red hen, because I’m little and I thought I’d be good as the hen,” Risa said.
Unlike FASE, the new program will be an all-day program, aimed at rising middle and high school students.
There are different tracks for dance, theater, visual arts and media arts, Lambert said. Programs for instrumental and vocal music were cancelled due to lack of registration.
The visual arts track is geared towards students preparing to take Advanced Placement Visual Arts, Lambert said, while the dance and theater tracks are open to any rising sixth to eighth grade students.
The media arts track, for rising eighth- and ninth-graders, will focus on the use of technology, including digital photography, video production, graphic design and animation, Lambert said.
“It will give them more of a foundation in the use of technology for their own instructional purposes,” Lambert said.
Registration for the program is $50, but Lambert said waivers can be provided for students facing financial hardship as well as students receiving free and reduced meals.
Proving more arts opportunities for students has been one of school system CEO Kevin Maxwell’s goals since he was hired in August 2013.
“When you think about what separates us from a lot of countries in the world; one is our creativity, our imagination. We’ve created all kinds of things that others have copied or replicated in one form or another,” Maxwell said. “Putting a man on the moon for example, back in the 60’s ... It wasn’t just our math skills and our science skills. It was our creative capacity to imagine what we would do and how we would do it.”