Arts Quincy program rebounding to match students, arts opportunities

In this 2019 photo, students from Camp Point made ceramic pinch pots with help of the Instant Arts program. Arts Quincy is planning to pilot an afterschool art program starting in November in Quincy Public Schools’ elementary buildings.

QUINCY — An Arts Quincy program matching students with arts opportunities is rebounding after a COVID-19 year, and a new effort will take more arts education into schools.

Plans call for Arts Quincy to pilot an afterschool art program, beginning in November, in Quincy Public Schools’ five elementary buildings.

“We hope to expand into the parochial schools next year and then perhaps into the county the following year, scaling it up over time,” Art Quincy Executive Director Laura Sievert said.

The Quincy Art Center previously offered an afterschool art program in the schools.

“When the opportunity presented itself to get involved with an afterschool program, it wasn’t a matter of if we do it but how we do it,” Sievert said.

“Every time we increase opportunities for students to get involved in art, what we’re doing is investing in the future of the 55 partner organizations that I have and making the quality of life and culture of Quincy better.”

Meanwhile, the Instant Arts program serving students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade in Adams County public and parochial schools is rebounding after COVID-19 kept volunteers and visitors out of classrooms in the 2020-21 school year.

Instant Arts classroom funds, granted to teachers, cover the cost of arts projects through the school year. Teachers can use the funds for field trips to a cultural event or museum or to bring a teaching artist into the classroom — choosing an activity that appeals to their students.

For a classroom studying slavery, reading a book or watching a video is one thing. Visiting the Dr. Eells House to see how Quincy fit into the issue “is next level,” Sievert said. “Teacher choice is key. Choice allows for customization, and customization allows for learning to go next level.”

Instant Arts in 2019 reached 17 schools and 8,500 students, some multiple times. Applications this fall reached 60% of the 2019 level, and Arts Quincy may open a second application window for funds.

“Over my time here, the program tripled in size. I expect it to go back up to that and even still grow,” Sievert said. “It’s an in-demand program. Teachers like it. Kids like it.”

Providing arts education helps engage students in school while providing lessons in how collaboration leads to creativity and problem solving. Research has shown benefits of arts education on school culture and positive effects on test scores in math, science and reading.

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