One day Kamara would like to be a doctor and help her family. Her schoolmate, Damon, wants to be an engineer. So, how did a Fine Arts Workshop focused on dinosaurs help to advance their dreams? Fourth grader, Iyana, sums it up. “I learned that when you work harder, you can do it,” she says; an outlook she adopted when asked to try something completely new during the 3-day workshop – draw a dinosaur and then build it out of clay.

“We invite any opportunity for kids to get exposed to great ideas,” says Mrs. Nacia Hatch, fourth grade teacher at Archbishop Lyke School in Cleveland. Fine Arts through Dinosaur Fables, a storytelling and visual workshop presented during the 2015-16 school year by the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning (CAL) and funded by a Rooted in Faith – Forward in Hope Expanding the Educational Landscape grant, did just that.

“The program encouraged the children to interact with each other and to be kinder with themselves, which was an important lesson during this Year of Mercy,” explains Mrs. Hatch, referring to the fact that students needed to show mercy toward their own limitations when attempting to shape a dinosaur out of clay. “They were inspired to try something new by following simple steps directed by the instructor. It turned out that they really enjoyed being creative.”

The ability to bring the fine arts to Archbishop Lyke School is significant, since the school cannot offer Art as part of its regular curriculum due to budget restrictions. “It is important for the students to be exposed to fine arts,” says third grade teacher, Ms. Toni Novicky. “This workshop allowed us to see more of our students have their eyes opened to creativity. It connected art to science, math, social studies and language arts.”

Third grader, William, sees the possibilities: “It motivated me to do anything. If I can do anything with clay, then I can do anything inside my school subjects.” By the way, William hopes to be a scientist one day!

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