Central Coast Center for Arts Education (CCCAE) will offer a program to provide art education for Santa Maria school children in low-income housing.

The project has funds to operate at Peoples’ Self Help Housing (PSHH) Los Adobes de Maria II for one year.

Students living in the complex will have the opportunity to attend afternoon workshops with professional artists.

The two-week workshop rotation exposes students to multiple types of artistic expression.

Projects include integration of science and art, performers, musicians and dance groups, said Susan Duffy, the CCCAE director and chair of the liberal studies department.

Cal Poly students will act as interns for the events. Any student may apply to be an intern with the project, however, students earning a bilingual teaching credential find the project to build skills beyond those found in another internship.

“Students on the credential track gain greater sensitivity for children that do not fit into the ‘model student’ (ideal),” Duffy said.

All children participating in the program are residents of PSSH and are from low-income families of agriculture workers.

This is the first time that CCCAE will work with a bilingual audience. Programs will be conducted primarily in English to help all participants, including parents at PSHH develop language skills.

Children are able to take the vocabulary of art and use it elsewhere, Duffy said. Studies have proven that children are more engaged when they write about art.

CCCAE received a grant from the Orfalea Fund to finance the project at PSHH. With the grant, Cal Poly students act as paid interns for the program while receiving credit for Liberal Studies 400.

“With the formal addition of art education at Peoples’ Self-Help Housing’s Los Adobes de Maria II, approximately 80 students K-8th grades will have access to top notch art education and dedicated future bilingual teachers,” said Jeanette Duncan, executive director for Peoples’ Self Help Housing.

“Our strong belief at PSHH is that art is a fundamental component of learning and education is deficient without it,” Duncan said.

Funding allows participating artists payment for their services. “Artists are professionals and need to be paid,” Duffy said.

The program runs for a year at the site beginning in February.

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