Art Attack!, 21st Century Community Learning Center
W.T. Neal Civic Center/Blountstown Middle School
Calhoun County, Florida
Contact: Suella McMillan, Executive Director
W.T. Neal Civic Center
- These are kids who dont get out to museums, so we bring the
world to them.
Pierson, an international Art Car designer, designed an Art Car for
the Art Attack! 21st Century Community Learning Center program at
Blounstown Middle School in Blountstown, Florida. The children helped
to piece together the car, which has an anti-smoking theme. Children
also had a chance to design their own toy Art Cars, as shown here.
Art Attack!, a program designed by the non-profit Neal Civic Center,
provides free, positive, constructive and educational opportunities for
at-risk children and their families during non-school hours. The program
consists of the following components: eight-week summer day camps; Saturday
programs for 21 weeks to parallel the school calendar; weekly tutoring
and mentoring for Saturday program participants; and weekly in-school
tutoring, mentoring and counseling.
The curriculum includes literature, visual arts (drawing, painting, sculpting),
music, dance, drumming, architectural interpretation (as part of regional
history), aesthetics and art criticism, art appreciation, public performances,
nutrition education and a family literacy program. National and international
artists demonstrate for and work with the children. For example, artists
in residence have included a mosaicist and a playwright, among others.
The playwright wrote a play based on local stories, which was produced
with local actors and actresses. The mosaicists six-month residency
was secured through the National Endowment for the Arts Artists
& Communities Millennium Project, which engaged a Millennium Artist
for each of the 50 states and six special jurisdictions to focus on the
power of the arts in addressing fundamental issues of community life.
In 2000, students will undertake the Mars Millennium Project, a national
initiative that challenges students to design a human community for the
red planet by combining arts, sciences and technology. Additional future
activities include an internship program for college students majoring
in child development and art education, therapy or administration; a traveling
exhibition of the childrens work; and public art performances offered
free in each community. Plans include video documentation of this project
so it can be used as a prototype for rural art intervention programs nationwide.
This Community Learning Center program places great emphasis on family
involvement. For example, it draws families into leadership roles in countywide
events via their supervision of community-produced exhibits. Families
expertise and resources are used to compile a written community history.
Also, families are offered a wide menu of volunteer and leadership opportunities,
such as hosting performances, creating and caring for exhibits, and identifying
local needs and the roles they might play in meeting them. Throughout,
parents can make choices according to their schedules, preferences and
The Neal Civic Center established Art Attack! at three local libraries
independently of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.
It then secured a grant on behalf of the Calhoun County School Board from
the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program for a fourth site:
the Blountstown Middle School. It received funding for additional programming
from the Department of Juvenile Justice, The Florida Arts Council, the
Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the Neal Centers arts and
education budget. Altogether, the program currently serves 170 students
and their families. The Neal Center provides program management and supervision,
service delivery, fiscal management, reporting, and grant management.