Partnership supports young people, creates art in under-utilized spaces

Sentinel & Enterprise

UPDATED:   11/15/2015 06:54:51 AM EST

FITCHBURG -- The Revolving Museum's Mobile Art Program offers collaborative public art education that will energize young people to believe they can play a meaningful role in the creation of a more beautiful, cleaner, healthier, safer and more vibrant neighborhood.

Through a sponsorship by Steel-Fab Incorporated, of Fitchburg, and a grant from Re-Imagine North of Main Street, Revolving Museum founder/director Jerry Beck will lead youth through workshops that will include construction of an interactive art-mobile, large-scale steel-made public artworks, poetry in public spaces and a series of celebratory community events.

MAP will involve youth, artists and volunteers through in-school and after-school workshops. Students will participate in a hands-on process, learning how to produce a public art project -- from research, outreach, marketing, fundraising, place-making and event planning.

MAP will assist students to safely tackle challenging personal, social, environmental and other pertinent issues facing them and their neighborhoods. Young people will comprehend how art and creativity impact the community and be able to apply their experiences back to their academic learning. In this way, MAP will be a catalyst for young people to build confidence, motivation, skills and abilities to carry out high quality public artworks.

"Young people need to use their creativity and have real-life experiences that can shape their future," said Mark Freeman, owner of Steel-Fab Incorporated.

"We have collaborated with Jerry before and recognize his passion to involve young people in artistic endeavors that can revitalize public spaces and inspire everyone's sense of pride. We are excited to donate our resources and offer young people insights about how our businesses work and how they can gain the knowledge to help them achieve success."

Revolving Museum board member and Fitchburg High School teacher Coraly Rivera said national statistics show that students engaged in arts education and project-based learning are less likely to drop out of school. Also found, she said, was that the arts increase student attendance and higher GPAs and SAT scores, and students are three times more likely to earn a bachelor's degree.

"This proves STEAM programs such as MAP and TRM's Visionary School can have a profound impact on the lives of children and their futures as productive citizens," she said.

"The students and staff at Goodrich Academy are very excited about this opportunity to work with the Revolving Museum and the community," said Principal Raymond Dewar. "We strive to make Fitchburg more reflective of the energy and creativity of its younger residents. We look forward to the chance for our students to learn valuable skills while also making a positive impact on Fitchburg's appearance. Any time students can learn, problem-solve and serve their community -- everyone wins."

"We must reach out, listen, respect and provide adventurous learning opportunities for youth," said Beck. "Young people are our greatest asset and through their creativity we can change the future of Fitchburg for the better."

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