Editor's note: We want to thank Katy Kraemer, director of the Community Learning Center for the Columbus (WI) School District. Katy submitted this information piece to the Rural Schools Collaborative after its feature on school-based peacemaking in the Missouri Ozarks.
The Community Learning Services, Columbus Public Schools' Community Education Program, (in Columbus, Wisconsin) offers out-of-school time activities for all ages. One of the most well attended activities is the annual "Arts Night"-- an event that includes make-and-take activities, entertainment, visiting artists, oftentimes with a local or cultural theme. This year's event was "Upcycled Arts Night" and included partnerships with a Columbus area art education business, The Workshop, and past resident artist and art educator, Amy Mietzel of Bare Knuckle Arts of Madison, WI. The Columbus Schools Art Department worked along with these partners to provide activities that upcycled recyclables into useable pieces of art. Mis-printed tee-shirts became bags or scarves, duct tape and corks became mushrooms, murals were made with bottle caps, and a good time was had by all.
The event is held in conjunction with Youth Art Month, and also features the Columbus Middle School art show. Admission to the event was a dollar, or a non-perishable food item-- four (heavy!) boxes of food were donated to the local food pantry. Over 100 participants included pre-schoolers, parents, grandparents, home-schooled students, public school students from kindergarten through high school. It is truly an event that the community wouldn't otherwise experience without the collaboration and coordination of this rural school district program.
Thanks again to Katy for sharing this good story. What's your school and community story? Let us know!