The Boys and Girls Club of Freeport and Stephenson County installed a new creative change into their after-school curriculum. SmArt After School, developed by the Freeport Art Museum, combines fine arts activities into a 21-week program to serve prospectively 300-400 youth.
Funded through a grant from the Freeport Community Foundation, this program reaches children who typically do not have regular access to the art museum and come from economic backgrounds that often create barriers to opportunities for additional cultural activities that would enhance learning and provide a creative means of self-expression
The program partners believe the addition of consistent, professionally led arts activities to the pre-existing program curriculum has the potential to create a powerful combination that will reinforce student learning. Incorporating the arts in the classroom promotes interdisciplinary learning, engages students who would not otherwise excel, and reveals students’ “hidden talents.”
Employing a multidisciplinary approach using both visual and performing arts is proven to be among the most successful after-school program models. Because of this, SmArt After School features visual, musical and theatrical components presented by regional artists.