Arts Alliance starts up fall programs
Hudson – The picturesque landscapes of New England in the fall inspire artists all over the world. As professional artists leave their studios to explore the fall foliage, so do the students in the Arts Alliance's after-school enrichment programs. The after-school programs, which are held in Hudson schools, are open to students in all of the surrounding towns.
Susan Alatalo, publicist and community outreach coordinator for the Arts Alliance, often teaches the programs. During prior years' classes, Alatalo said, she would take students outside daily to observe nature and then to sketch what they saw.
"We would find all sorts [of things to sketch]: frogs … orange and black insects. We became very sensitized to what was around us," she said. "… It was a great combination of science and art."
The program, which is currently open for registration, will begin Wednesday Oct. 15, with classes being offered in several categories, including cartooning, drama and art history. The weekly classes are intensive programs offering small student-to-teacher ratios for students in grades one through eight.
Unlike a school setting, where all children regardless of their artistic interest are mixed together, the afterschool program allows children with similar creative passions to work together.
"Putting creative kids together with other really creative kids regardless of age just ignites their imagination," Alatalo said. "It has been fascinating to see how these relationships are established. I am amazed by the students' enthusiasm and [independence]."
With patrons struggling in the present economy, donations and grants for out-ofschool enrichment art programs are becoming more competitive. Yet in many cases, Alatalo said, the need has become increasingly more important, primarily because tight school budgets force cuts to visual and performing art programs.
Art education is essential for the development of children's minds, Alatalo said. In recent studies, she explained, they have found that adults in several professions, like medicine and engineering, can benefit from childhood exposure to the arts.
In art education, many of the skills that are learned transcend the boundaries of the artistic world.
"Music is based on mathematical principals," Alatalo said. "… Artists have to be visually acute, as do surgeons."
Despite the competition for cultural grants, the Arts Alliance programs' attendance by both children and adults is growing. Alatalo understands that many in the current economy are struggling financially.
"There are huge needs right now," she said. "… We just want to bring some happiness."
Some of the other programs open to the community this fall include "Alice in Wonderland," being performed in Hudson the weekend of Nov. 8 and 9. Alatalo said this was an event not to miss – the first time that the adult theater group is putting on a play of children's stories.
For children in grades three through 12 with a love of singing, the Pro Musica Youth Chorus will begin rehearsing Monday Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Hudson High School. For more in formation or to register for Arts Alliance programs, call 978-562-1646 or visit www. upwitharts.org.
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