Art & Academic Workshops
Freedom Arts & Education Center offers over 50 Art and Academic Workshops! These workshops are interactive seminars that provide students of all ages and backgrounds with unique and meaningful learning opportunities that combine arts and academics. Our highly skilled teaching artists facilitate explorations in multiple disciplines in a fun, educational setting aligning with school and organizational curriculum and principles. These workshops can run as one-time, one-hour programs, or can be spread out over multiple visits for a more cumulative and thorough learning experience. Areas of study include music, painting, drawing, writing, dance, theater, literacy, design, math, history, culture, philosophy, physics, electronics, technology, career research, and more. View our Art & Academic Workshops Catalog and contact us at Info@FAECSTL.org or (314) 795-3803 for pricing and scheduling.
As we set out on this journey in 2012, the first need we were called to meet was to provide arts education to a culture that was reducing its art opportunities for young people. We organically developed a catalog of 12 unique arts workshops that we could facilitate in any setting to any age. The greater St. Louis area responded enthusiastically and we quickly developed strong partnerships with several organizations including St. Louis County Libraries, Kingdom House, Children’s Home Society, and Neighborhood Houses, becoming a go-to group for arts education. Since 2012, our catalog grew from 12 workshops to over 50 workshops and residencies with areas of study that include music, painting, drawing, creative writing, dance, theater, math, history, culture, philosophy, physics, electronics, and even career research! This cornerstone program serves over 3,000 students each year from all ages and backgrounds with necessary learning opportunities. It also provides teaching artists with work opportunities in which they can serve and be served.
In 2017, Freedom Arts contracted 26 teaching artists to work with 3,625 students by facilitating 231 workshops at 22 libraries, 19 schools, and 4 youth organizations.
We facilitate workshops for…
From beautifying our streets and uplifting our community, to improving life skills and creative abilities, we shape our stories and determine our destiny.
Create Days make space and gather resources for ongoing individual works, collaborative projects, and exposure trips. These opportunities allow our scholars to discover passions, deepen processes, and develop positive practices. Connections to mentors and career development are even more things made possible through Create Days.
Individual works allow scholars the space for creative exploration in order to discover and develop their “thing” - what makes them want to get out of bed in the morning and move forward. Individualized time for artistic works help equip young people with the skills needed to communicate their story, process their emotions, work well individually, strengthen language and literacy, and set and achieve goals. Through collaborative projects scholars learn to work well with a team's diverse perspectives and goals, increase community mindedness, and develop virtues such as cooperation and patience.
Through our quarterly exposure trips, scholars come to realize all that St. Louis has to offer in arts and culture. They get to advance their creative thinking and design skills, find connections to mentorship and apprentice opportunities, and develop research skills by completing reports following each trips. We have visited and toured Shock City Studios, Kinetic Tapestry, Regional Arts Commission, the Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, the Medici Media Center, and more.
Whether we're painting murals, beautifying parks, visiting a museum, writing poems and songs, choreographing dances, or producing plays, this program challenges our scholars in fun and relevant ways while providing them with guided instruction from skilled artists and support from dedicated mentors. Through the arts, our scholars make connections to themselves, their communities, and the world at large in order to shape their stories and determine their destinies. Create Days are an empowering resource for young people from systemically under-resourced communities and at-risk environments.
Giving our scholars a healthy outlet for self-expression, community, and emotion has been essential to our strategy since day one. Arts education plays a vital role in improving academic skills, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skills. Increased motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork are additional byproducts of arts education (source). Additionally, the arts provide perspective outside of the everyday world our scholars are often faced with. Art helps provide them with a positive, constructive, meaningful outlook. Russell Simmons said “Art allows people a way to dream their way out of their struggle.” We agree, and to take it a step further: the struggle requires art to make it not only worthwhile, but more powerful.
This program has been funded in part by the Arts and Education Council and the Regional Arts Commission. Art supplies and music equipment is donated by Flanagan Paint & Supply and Play It Forward STL, as well as by many generous individuals.
“If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for?” -Alice Walker
Freedom Arts Camps
Since 2015, we have been offering week-long summer camps featuring unique art and academics workshops that are relevant to today's students. This program continues the mission of empowering young people to become highly creative, literate, passionate, independent thinkers throughout the summer. Professional teaching artists facilitate innovative classes on music production, chalk art, graffiti art, creative writing, acting, dance, jewelry making, physics, math, and more! The Freedom Arts Camp plays a necessary role in not only providing educational continuity throughout the summer, but also in making relevant art and academic opportunities available to students in systemically underserved communities. It teaches skills that are transferable to other areas and provides work opportunities for artists who desire to share their skills and knowledge with the next generation of artists.
Freedom Arts Expo
Every August we host our Freedom Arts Expo. This annual block-party-meets-art-fair is a day of workshops, performances, and presentations provided at no cost to the community with the goal of uniting people through the arts. Placing an emphasis on hip-hop, public art, and creativity from multiple cultures, the Expo is a one of a kind quality arts event in North St. Louis. The Freedom Arts Expo showcases emerging and established teaching and performing artists, makes the arts available to the community, and exhibits the opportunities available through Freedom Arts & Education Center. Since 2012, this has been our cornerstone event to bring people together and show what community looks like, why the arts matter, and why everyone needs and deserves quality education.
We are thankful to continue the work over the summer when the norm in education is to take a long break. But for many of our young people, summer isn’t a vacation. “In summer, the lack of affordable child care and the achievement gap collide for lower income families. Most kids lose math skills over the summer, but low income children also lose, on average, more than two months of reading skills — and they don’t gain them back. That puts them nearly three years behind higher income peers by the end of fifth grade, and the gap just keeps getting wider. Researchers credit the summer slide for about half of the overall difference in academic achievement between lower and higher income students” (source). Like many other issues, it’s clear that the summer learning loss disproportionately impacts our scholars and the people in our community. We combat these issues by continuing to meet with our scholars and make our resources available over the summer to explore the arts, increase academic skills, and spend valuable time with their mentors.
Our Summer Arts programs have been funded in part by Philanthropy at PNC.