Community Outreach Programs at The Rye Arts Center
Head Start: Port Chester
The Rye Arts Center provides 26 weeks of art and music instruction annually to more than 200 Port Chester pre-school children who qualify based on need. This program, established in 1981, helps develop school readiness skills so that young participants can more readily transition to a public school setting. Through participation in arts activities children enhance their cognitive and language development, learn to express themselves creatively, and build their confidence. From October through May, the children (3 – 5 years old) participate in weekly classes that include instruction in painting, ceramics, mixed media, dance, music, singing, and storytelling. Since many of the children are beginning English language learners, only speaking Spanish, their engagement with this program helps them learn English through song lyrics and English instruction. Scholarships are provided to a selection of Head Start students to attend our summer Creative Arts Program, further enhancing the arts education enrichment experience for those children showing an affinity for the arts.
Offered to area elementary schools, including five in Port Chester, the Famous Artists program is designed to provide visual and creative literacy arts education to young children through learning about famous artists and their works. Since 1986 The Rye Arts Center has offered this program, organizing and training a network of parent volunteers to instruct thousands of children to understand the creative process of artists ranging from 15th-century artist Arcimboldo to 20th-century sculptor Alexander Calder. Through lectures and hands-on projects undertaken in the classroom, the Famous Artists Program exposes young minds to the history of art while helping them create art using the same concepts and techniques as the masters. Offering this arts education experience through parent docents creates a bond between the adults and children as they experience the arts and creative process together.
Hispanic Resource Center: Mamaroneck
Providing arts education to the undeserved in our neighboring communities continues to be a major focus of our outreach programs. At the Hispanic Resource Center in Mamaroneck, The Rye Arts Center works to foster connections and participation among immigrant families through participation in the arts. We provide instruction in digital photography to teens and scholarships for Hispanic Resource Center children to attend our summer creative arts program each year.
Don Bosco Community Center: Port Chester
At the Don Bosco Community Center in Port Chester, The Rye Arts Center provides weekly music lessons in guitar for teens. These after school guitar lessons provide teens with an outlet for creative expression and an opportunity to learn musical skills in a small group setting that allows for one-on-one attention while fostering long lasting friendships.
Introducing cultures around the world through interactive music and storytelling workshops is the focus of the annual World Music Program provided to kindergarteners in the Rye City School District by The Rye Arts Center. This program, sponsored by The Women’s Club of Rye, Children’s Philanthropy, provides children with a multi-cultural experience using traditional instruments indigenous to various countries, as well as participating in musical traditions.
Dance For Parkinson’s Disease
For those with Parkinson’s disease, The Rye Arts Center offers a specialized dance program that provides an opportunity for physical movement as well as social connection. Based on the acclaimed Mark Morris Dance Group/Brooklyn Parkinson’s Group Dance for PD® Program started in 2001, this class provides an opportunity to stretch and strengthen muscles with an emphasis on enhanced physical awareness and grace, through modern, ballet and folk dance, from professionally trained dancers. The classes stimulate mind, body and emotion in a safe and enjoyable arts based environment.
Music for Seniors: Music Outreach Now
Music Outreach Now was established for senior citizens at area nursing homes to enjoy live music and its therapeutic value. The musicians are Rye Arts Center students as well as those of area middle and high schools. This program fulfills many goals: self-esteem for the students performing, entertainment for the seniors, and interaction between students and seniors. This RAC program is organized through the RAC Music School Director and RAC students in conjunction with Rye High School student volunteers
The Rye Arts Center is committed to ensuring that arts instruction and educational opportunities are accessible to those in the communities we serve. Each year we provide full scholarship funding to over 15 students to attend our summer creative arts program, and partial and full scholarships to students for music and arts instruction. The Gail Harrison Roman/Rye Arts Center Scholarship, established in 2014, provides up to two scholarships to a high school senior who has demonstrated a passion and commitment to the arts, and for whom the arts have contributed to his/her education.
STEM+Arts (STEAM) Program
The Rye Arts Center’s newest educational initiative, launched in January 2014, is STEM+Art, (or STEAM). Responding to a national conversation regarding the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, The Rye Arts Center has integrated the Arts into this curriculum discussion, recognizing the important role that the arts play in developing innovation and creativity, alongside the STEM based subjects. The Rye Arts Center is embarking on offering innovative programming to prepare students for the art and design world of the 21st century, integrating science, technology, and math and computer skills into many of our class offerings. Our newest arts education curriculum offerings include 3D printing and design, Lego Engineering, ‘Scratch’ and ‘Processing’ computer programming, 3D animation using ‘Blender’ and Minecraft animation and creative building with Littlebits and Makey Makey technology. It is our intent to bring this innovative STEM+Arts based curriculum to all in our community.
Community Outreach Workshops, Lectures and Events
The Rye Arts Center is designed to be an integral part of community life, providing access and experiences in the arts to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Through free, community based events, workshops, gallery exhibits and lectures, The Rye Arts Center extends its mission to provide arts education and arts enrichment experiences to the community. Specialized offerings are created for teens, Scout troops, school groups, adults, seniors and the general community.