Middle school students DIVE into art and poetry

kids making art in a classroom

DIVE teaser.jpgThe Georgia Museum of Art's partnership with Camp DIVE has focused on art and poetry, with about two dozen middle-school students enrolled in the camp visiting the museum weekly through the month of June to make connections between visual art and creating their own literature:

Camp DIVE—which stands for discover, inquire, voice, and explore-provides local, underserved youth in Athens with a month-long free learning experience. This partnership among the Clarke County School District, the University of Georgia College of Education and the Athens-Clarke County community is meant to combat summer slide, or the tendency for students to lose progress made during the previous school year.

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Mariah Parker, a graduate student in UGA's linguistics program-who both studies and performs hip hop under the name Lingua Franca-also emphasized how important the program is with making students comfortable in the museum, saying, "This is a casual introduction to a space that can be very intimidating."

The program is supported by the Aralee Strange Fund for Art and Poetry endowment created by Kathy Prescott and Grady Thrasher, longtime residents of Athens who are both actively involved in their community. Most recently, they helped make the documentary film "Athens in Our Lifetimes," which covers the city's evolution over six decades. To honor their friend Aralee Strange, they provided the endowment to fund the Art and Poetry project to cultivate an appreciation for the arts in Athens youth.

Art and the community - this is but one way we can work together. Bringing local kids to campus may sound obvious and easy, but until they experience UGA themselves, it can remain a mystery - even in proximity. Inroads don't just exist - they get created by people, their effort, resources and time. Great work from the Museum, the College of Education and graduate students like Ms. Parker. Come out and see the campers present and display their work at the museum on June 29, from 5 to 7 p.m., free and open to the public.

Image of Camp DIVE from Online Athens.