Beeber: An ArtsZone hub

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Community partners, business leaders, artists, parents, and students of Beeber Middle School will meet on April 28th at 5 p.m. to plan for a newly launched Art Zone. The program was established in collaboration with ArtsRising, a comprehensive youth initiative supported by the Philadelphia Education Fund, Public Citizens for Children and Youth, and Fleisher Art Memorial.

Beeber is one of the five inaugural ArtsRising ArtZone hubs. ArtsZone hubs are geographical areas anchored by schools that are linked integrally to their surrounding neighborhoods and arts resources within communities and the larger city. Other inaugural ArtZone hubs will be located at:

  • Warren G. Harding Middle School
  • John B. Stetson Middle School
  • Grover Washington Middle School
  • C.A.A. Baldi Middle School

What follows is a guest blog contribution written by Precious Lee, an 8th grader at Beeber Middle School. She is one of Beeber’s leading student journalists. She has written about her views on art and the launching of the ArtsRising ArtsZone hubs.

Please spread the word about Beeber’s ArtZone and encourage Precious with comments and questions about what role art should play in schools.

ArtsRising Creating Visual and Performing Arts

Can you imagine a world without art? Or what if people didn’t have time to be creative?

Many people ask what is art and why is it important? Art is the conscious use of skills and creative imagination. Art is an important subject that brings out someone’s creativity and emotion. Shy students go to art and they start coming out of their shells because in art they develop self confidence and they start believing in themselves.

Many students think art is what makes school interesting.

Art also supports academic learning. Art plays a significant role in kid’s development and learning process. The arts help students learn how to work cooperatively and to believe in their talents. Art gives students a positive experience and allows them to learn the skills they need to be successful. Art and music education serve to broaden children’s perspectives on life and help them become more well-rounded individuals.

I had a chance to attend an event that combined art, music, and dance. This event was the ArtsRising In Schools, In Community, In Life Launch Celebration held at Harding Middle School on Feb. 18. This event showed how art is important and how art can keep kids off the street.

At this event I had a chance to read my poem "Te Quiero,’" which is a bilingual poem that means "I love you." Domenick Shuler, another student from Beeber, read his poem "Angels." Students from Baldi’s string ensemble played classical music. I enjoyed this very much because I play the violin, too. And students from Stenson performed a mini recital of Latin dance styles.

Mrs. Smith, the Art teacher at Beeber Middle School, also attended this event. She said, "The ArtsRising launching was fabulous. This grant will provide additional resources for our school.” When asked why is art important she said, "Art is important because it allows for personal creativity, critical thinking, and it relates to other content areas; it is a subject that all students can learn and do with personal effort." The last question I her asked was, how important is art to her and how important is it for the students to know art? Mrs. Smith said,"Art is my life. I have a passion for visual arts and I want students to appreciate art with the hopes that some will want to pursue art as a lifelong career."

Ms. McMickens the director of ArtsRising had this to say about art, in a radio interview, on Power 99. "The arts are a wonderful access point… to start to gain some understanding, to see and find some common ground," She also said that, "ArtsRising is really about finding as many ways as possible for our youth to access their own creativity and to experience the arts, and to connect with one another, with their communities, with other youth, and with adults who really care about them and what their life experiences will be."

I am excited that Beeber is a part of the ArtsRising. I want people to see my talents and my classmates’ too. Together we can create great works of art.