Learning Through Arts works exhibited as part of Pittsfield's 10x10 festival


Photo Gallery | IS183 Learning Through Arts show at the Lichtenstein Center

PITTSFIELD — Learning Through Arts must be doing something right.

An IS183 Art School program, it has grown from 30 to 1,250 students, expanded from one site to more than two dozen schools and community centers, and this month, it landed a gallery opening in downtown Pittsfield with more than 200 works on display.

The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts will host the first Learning Through Arts exhibition as part of its 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival.

"It's a great celebration of how we cross-pollinate our resources and efforts to get that energy and enthusiasm around the arts in our community," said Hope Sullivan, IS183's executive director. "Having those moments to invite the community to celebrate the accomplishments of our students is really important."

The Learning Through Arts program, launched in 2007, provides arts enrichment opportunities to Berkshire County Students in kindergarten through Grade 12, in partnership with county schools and youth agencies.

Among the goals of the program is to use art to sharpen students' skills and knowledge, particularly in schools with lagging test scores. The curricula is interdisciplinary, with this fall's themes of animal habitats, geology, puppetry, history, architecture and literacy evident in the current display.

During last week's exhibition opening, dozens of youths, families and community members got the full artist's experience, from seeing their work installed by their name tags on the walls, to socializing with their peers and art teachers around a reception table of hors d'oeuvres, water and fruit juice.

Kaylee Jackson, a Crosby Elementary School first-grader, brought her mother, Christy Jackson, and grandfather, William Frazier to the show to look at her work and find other favorites across the grades.

The girl's mother said she has no regrets about enrolling her daughter into the program this year. "She loves art," Jackson said. "I think this is all just beautiful."

Savannah Gomes is a second-grader at Morningside Community School, where the Learning Through Arts program was founded. She brought her father, Michael Gomes, to the opening where she introduced him to her art teacher, Jared Gelormino. The teacher is one of more than 35 artists who have taught Learning Through Arts curriculum over the years.

"We have a really good time in class and let them pick out what to put on display," Gelormino said.

Aside from the lessons, Savannah said she also likes the time she's given with her friends at the end of each session to free draw and create projects on their own.

Michael Gomes said his daughter now continuously crafts and creates art works at home and in school.

"I think it's very good for her to learn how to be expressive and to be given an outlet for her expressions," he said.

Gomes said he also appreciated the public exhibit.

"These are our young minds and they're the future," he said. "People should see how well they're doing."

Contact Jenn Smith at 413-496-6239.

More information ...

To learn more about Learning Through Arts, visit IS183.org or call 413-298-5252.


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