MMCA teen workshop to highlight collaboration, art in the public eye


By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor


After the success of their after school art programs for younger children, the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts (MMCA) will, this spring, expand the program to teenagers, offering an “Art in the Public Eye” workshop.


The workshop will highlight collaboration between teens and community leaders. During the workshops, participants will view slide presentations of art in the public eye, discuss the concept of creativity, maintain a personal journal, collaborate on theoretical design or activities presented as public art and document the class activities with a short animated film.


According to the MMCA’s project plan, the goal of the program is to “realize the complementary relevance in art and leadership of economic management, personal character and critical thinking.”


Workshop development began in August, after the MMCA received kick-start funding from the Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation. MMCA Board Member Andrew Wroble, who will facilitate the workshop, said it was a collaborative effort between the board members.


Wroble said the workshop will be “high energy and intense, but with a sense of artistic discipline.” While future teen programs will feature more studio work with mediums like clay, wood and glass, he said this workshop will likely include more drawing.


The workshop can include 14 to 20 teens ranging in age from seventh to 12th grade. Unlike past programs, this workshop is open to a wider area, as students from both sides of the river can participate, so those in junior or senior high school in Clayton and Allamakee Counties and the Prairie du Chien and River Ridge School Districts are welcome to register. There is a registration fee.


Workshops are scheduled to meet weekly over a six-week period between March 10 and April 14. There will be two workshops, with one for students in grades seven through nine, and another for those in 10th through 12th grade. The introductory sessions will run from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.


Since the workshops will highlight collaboration between teens and community leaders, the MMCA will bring in six community leaders, with each one’s role in the community highlighted during one of the weeks. Wroble said he has some leaders already lined up, and that they will come from both sides of the river.


Wroble said the MMCA’s role through these programs is to enhance the things students already learn in school.


“It will take a step that schools might not be able to offer,” he said. “One thing is animation. It’s practiced in schools, but this will show a greater tie between art in school and in the real world, especially in rural communities.”


Wroble said the program’s baseline intent is to keep the community energized. As the MMCA plans to expand its programs and include more activities, eventually year-round, for people of all ages, he said it will play an even bigger role in the communities’ energy level.


“It’s my personal perspective that the MMCA is very good for the community,” he said. “It helps develop the community and adds ideas and shows that creativity isn’t just a function of art, but of life.”

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