Exposure to Creativity (ETC)

For many Door County high school students, the rich and textured art community that exists on the peninsula is a bit unknown. Recognizing this, the Exposure to Creativity program was created in 2007 as a means to provide youth ages 14-18 years with access to the ample, diverse, and creative resources that abound in our art community and is provided at a time – during the school day and year – when students are in school and not working full or part-time jobs.

The ETC program consists of two components – two half-day, hands-on creative workshops that every Gibraltar High School student participates in (as well as any interested home-schooled students); and, for those who choose to accept the opportunity, a mentor program in the months following the workshops. These mentorships provide encouragement, support, and in-depth training by artists and professionals in an arts field of their choice.

The hands-on ETC workshops replace the Gibraltar High School curriculum on two separate days, and deal with such diverse subjects as watercolor, painting, glasswork, dance, theater, and poetry, among others. In total, 26 workshops were provided to 217 GHS students during the 2008/2009 school year. The mentor program, which utilizes local artists and creative professionals, were held from February – May 2009. 13 students worked with six artist mentors for a total of 66 combined hours of mentoring in small group sessions dedicated to a particular field of study.

The ETC program allows all students the access to broad and equal participation, not only those with the parental encouragement, free time, and financial means to afford private lessons or classes in a particular artistic field. In addition, the Hardy Gallery was able to give each artist stipends for their time and expertise, thus increasing their potential to expand their own professional horizons through teaching and outreach activities. The Hardy takes pride in the fact that this program supports youth arts education in our community and at the same time contributes to the livelihood of local artists, who strive to make a living in a field where finding recognition and financial success can be a challenge.

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