Arts-Kids appoints new board leaders |

Arts-Kids appoints new board leaders

Submitted by Corinne Humphrey

Corinne Humphrey and Darcy Swedish-McKay were recently voted new co-chairs of the Arts-Kids Board of Directors. Arts-Kids is a youth development program that uses art and group techniques to build communication, problem solving and social skills, and to foster confidence and self-esteem in a non-competitive environment.

Humphrey, artist/author of the children’s book, "The Tao of Rudy," has served on the Board for the past year. "I first became involved with Arts-Kids as a teacher when my book was published in 2008," she says. "It’s such a great program. I’ve really enjoyed working with the children and teens, and I’ve watched them blossom under the guidance of the facilitators. I’m so impressed by their talents, and I hope to be able to expand Arts-Kids’ programs to benefit other communities."

Swedish-McKay adds the perspective of a parent to her role as co-chair her daughter participated in Arts-Kids workshops while in the second grade at Trailside Elementary. "I am privileged to contribute my efforts to this organization," she says. "Facilitators guided my daughter’s experience with artists as well as her social interaction with other children, and I saw firsthand how my daughter’s sense of confidence and acceptance improved, as did her ability to stay focused in the classroom."

Founded in 1999 by Pat Drewry Sanger, an Advanced Practice Psychiatric-Mental Health Registered Nurse and Child/Adolescent Specialist, Arts-Kids runs after-school groups once a week in Summit County elementary schools and Arts-Teens groups at Treasure Mountain Middle School. The program is free to all participants, made possible by grants and private donations. Under the guidance of trained facilitators and professional artists, students build community and develop life skills through the expressive arts.

The "expressive arts" is an integrated process in which visual art, music, drama and movement are a vehicle for a child’s inner communication, self-awareness and healing. The expressive arts go beyond linear thinking and enable deeper expression of emotional feelings and thoughts. One child exclaimed, "Now I can express my feelings and no one needs to know what they are!"

The Arts-Kids groups have a 1-to-3 adult-to-child ratio and begin and end with a "talking circle," where each individual has a chance to speak and be heard, and where a sense of community is encouraged. Professional artists present different forms of art painting, sculpture, dance, drama, poetry, music, etc. designed to increase creativity and motivation.

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The after-school youth development program is based on the belief that all children will thrive if they have a safe place for self-expression, not always found at home, in school, or elsewhere in the community. During Arts-Kids sessions, children with diverse backgrounds, special challenges, and differing abilities come together in an atmosphere of trust. Arts-Kids’ trained facilitators are invested in eliminating the barriers of prejudice, fear, and stereotyping and in fostering respect, self-esteem, and understanding through communications skills.

In 2008, the Arts-Kids & Arts-Teens model program was adopted by the Northern Ute Tribe, serving children on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Fort Duchesne, Randlette and Whiterocks. Artists provide tribal arts and traditions as well as other arts projects. Facilitators received training in Arts-Kids workshops, and this pilot program has been supported by The Tribal Recreation Department, The Episcopal Church of Utah, Utah Arts Council/Folk Arts Division and by Federal Government grants.

Arts-Kids is hosting two tuition-based camps this summer:

  • Camp ArtVenture includes painting, drama, tie-dye and movement for ages 8 to 12. The camp will be held July 19-23 and Aug. 2-6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and tuition is $150 per week. Sign up for one or two weeks. Scholarship funds are available. Registration forms are available online at .
  • Film Camp features writing, acting, filming and editing of a short film for ages 11 to 16. Tuition is $200. Dates will be set in July. For more information or to indicate interest, call 615-7878.

    For more information about how to bring Arts-Kids, go to web site, or email Arts-Kids is actively recruiting new Board Members to strengthen and grow Arts-Kids and lead it into the future. If interested, call Drewry Sanger at 615-7878.