The Lawrence Arts Center is expanding its partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence to provide classroom and activity space for students transitioning from remote learning to a hybrid schedule.
Beginning October 26, approximately 60 students from Kennedy, Cordley, New York, Prairie Park, Pinckney, Woodlawn and Broken Arrow will be at the Arts Center on a rotating schedule. BGCLK Director of Marketing and Communications Alissa Bourneuf said the learning opportunities at the Arts Center made it a good fit for students.
“Because of all the STEAM, music and art programs the Lawrence Arts Center has done with Boys & Girls Club, we are very familiar with your unique spaces,” Bourneuf said. “Lawrence Arts Center has always been among the top favorite field trips for our kids.”
The Arts Center has partnered with BGCLK for several years providing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) lessons to after-school programs. Through the generosity of several donors, this summer the Arts Center donated Music Maker Art a la Carte activity kits to young artists in some of the Boys & Girls Club summer programs.
Bourneuf said that access to generous learning spaces as well as creative spaces where kids could move was imperative for success. She also said the Lawrence Arts Center’s commitment to safety protocols during the pandemic aided in BGCLK’s decision.
Neal Barbour, Director of Youth Education at the Arts Center, said safety was a priority during the planning process for bringing students into the facility. To maintain social distancing, the Arts Center has designated three classrooms that will each be used for no more than 10 students per day. This will not only facilitate social distancing measures, it will also maintain defined circulation patterns that limit contact between classrooms.
In addition, local Cares Act funding enabled the Lawrence Arts Center to acquire state-of-the-art thermal fogging and stabilized aqueous ozone systems to provide unparalleled disinfecting capabilities. Funding will also be used to replace all sinks, toilets and drinking fountains with new touchless models, and air filtration systems are being upgraded to include UV purifiers.
While safety protocols protect the physical health of the children, Lawrence Arts Center CEO Margaret Morris said extending supplemental arts programming in tandem with current curriculum to BGCLK students will support mental health and “soft skills” including creativity, resilience, confidence, persistence, and general well-being.
“Engaging in the arts is a predictor for almost every positive outcome you can talk about: academics, civic engagement, graduation rates and more,” Morris said. “Everyone in the world deserves to live their best life, and the arts play a key part in that.”