"Inside Arts" Program Brings Calligraphy to students at the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center

Teaching Artist Garret Uyeno

Children thrive with access to the arts. With high arts involvement, young people are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, three times more likely to win an award for school attendance, and four times more likely to participate in a math or science fair. The arts provide a means to encourage, inspire, and motivate students in the classroom and beyond.

Arts for Learning Indiana, our YA affiliate based in Indianpolis, provides access to quality arts in education programs to students – no matter where their classroom may be. The organization sends professional teaching artists to instruct young people on topics ranging from traditional African dance to video game design in classrooms in schools, community centers, hospitals, and juvenile detention centers across the state.

On Friday, June 27th, the students of the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center dipped into the art of Japanese calligraphy, Shodo, with artist Garret Uyeno. The seven male students learned the symbols for “mountain,” “river,” and their own names while discussing the cultural significance of the writing techniques in comparison with other ancient styles, like Chinese calligraphy and Egyptian hieroglyphics. At the end of the 45 minute session, the students bowed to their “Sensei” (Uyeno) and left the classroom with their artwork in hand.

“Garret’s Japanese Calligraphy workshop is full of energy and information. My students really enjoy learning the art form and about the culture which created it,” says Shawn Charlton, teacher at Bartholomew County Youth Services Center.

The Center’s Education staff work with a diverse group of youth, ranging in all levels of educational capabilities. The Center’s four teachers work together to provide a well-rounded classroom environment conducive to every youth’s educational needs including access to the arts through Arts for Learning Indiana’s teaching artists.

The center is committed to making the community a safer place by reducing the risk of repetitive delinquent behavior. Student residents receive six hours of educational instruction at the Center year round, five days per week. In 2013, the educational staff at the Center had four youth prepare and later receive their General Education Diplomas while they were in detention.

Arts for Learning provides the Inside Arts programs thanks to the generosity of several funders including the Sheila Fortune Foundation, the Haddad Foundation, and the Pacers Foundation. With their support, the organization annually reaches more than 800 students at five juvenile service centers throughout the state. To learn more about Arts for Learning programs, or to donate to Inside Arts, visit www.artsforlearningindiana.org.

Young Audiences Arts for Learning would like to thank Garret Uyeno, Arts for Learning teaching artist and Megan Watson, Marketing & Communications Specialist. And a big thank you to Shawn Charlton and all the teachers who work in Youth Services Centers across the country for their dedication to their students. 

A version of this article was originally published on the Arts for Learning, Indiana website.



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