Lorain Students Chosen for Oberlin Pilot Arts Program
Posted January 10, 2017 in Articles
Author: Carol Harper, The Morning Journal
Ron Cocco says extensive collaboration highlights a pilot program of fine arts enrichment for underprivileged children in Lorain.
“The collaboration is with Lorain City Schools in partnership with the Oberlin Center for the Arts and Oberlin College, that’s one of the unique twists,” said Cocco, who chairs the Center for the Arts, a collaborative organization at the New Union Center in Oberlin.
Groups at New Union Center for the Arts, 39 S. Main St. in Oberlin, include MAD Factory (Music, Arts and Drama), Oberlin Choristers, Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra and Firelands Association for the Visual Arts, he said.
Cocco said the pilot program is called Lorain City Schools Arts Academy, a voluntary after-school arts enrichment program that runs from 3 to 6 p.m. three days a week at New Beginnings Academy in the former St. Mary’s High School building at 307 W. Seventh St. in Lorain.
The strengths of each group will be infused into Lorain City Schools Arts Academy, he said.
“We also have in addition to Lorain City Schools, support from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lorain County who will provide transportation from the home schools to the New Beginnings building,” Cocco said. “We’re working with third through fifth graders, and we capped it at 30 students.
“Every student will be given an opportunity to learn and participate in dance, visual arts, theatrical arts, vocal arts and instrumental arts,” Cocco said, adding cinematography as another possibility.
The students are chosen by their school buildings for inclusion, he said. The pilot program is from Jan. 30 through the end of April.
“I’m sure there will be at that time some opportunity to view results,” Cocco said. “The students have to try all of the arts. These are students who normally would not get an opportunity to participate in arts training.”
The program is stacked with talented teachers, he said.
“There are associated students from Oberlin College who will be involved,” Cocco said. “Hopefully, they will provide some enrichment for the young students.
“We believe there will be some positive outcomes once the program is concluded. We hope to continue this in the future.”
The Oberlin Center for the Arts works with a $52,000 budget to help underwrite support of the arts organizations participating, Cocco said, as well as materials, supplies and instrument rentals.
Oberlin College and the Nord Family Foundation provided a bulk of the funding, he said. And Lorain Schools adds support through federal grant money, he said.
The Center for the Arts would like to take the model into other schools and other districts, he said.
“This type of program has been tried in other parts of the country,” Cocco said. “We particularly wanted to serve our underserved population. The teaching staff from Lorain City Schools is also participating.
“At the conclusion of the year, we will do an evaluation and assessment. It’s a very collaborative effort. So many people feel committed to this because of the collaborative effort that is being taken.”
Some of the decisions about performances will welcome student involvement and discussion, Cocco said.
“We’re not structuring the program too intensely,” he said. “We want it to be an organic evolution. That’s the beauty of art education. It doesn’t have to be so structured and formal.”
Cocco estimates 15 to 20 instructors will create an almost one-to-one ratio with students. And a meal is provided at each session, he said. Parents must pick up the students in the evening.
“To have a nationally recognized institution like Oberlin College involved in bringing this quality of interaction and to have students working with them, is something special,” Cocco said. “These students would never have the opportunity to go to a music enrichment and arts instruction program after school.
“They’re selected by their home schools. They’re chosen.”