Sarah Edelsburg, Community Artist in Residence
The Club At Collington Square
After several years of working on community-driven arts projects in New York and participating in a volunteer program in Nepal, I decided to pursue a career in the community arts field, to gain professional skills and develop a greater understanding of art’s role in community. I began Master of Arts in Community Arts (MACA) Program at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in June of 2009. As part of the MACA program, I served an Americorps residency at The Club At Collington Square as their Community Artist in Residence from September of 2009 to June of 2010.
At The Club, I taught social justice-based art classes to middle school students in fall 2009, and elementary school students in spring 2010. I implemented mixed media projects that focused on self expression, identity, and community strength. In fall 2009, I was awarded a Community Service Grant from MICA's Office of Student Affairs to re-establish monthly adult art workshops at The Club. I facilitated four jewelry making workshops during the entire academic year together with a local teaching artist and community member, Ms. Ida Hopkins.
Through out the year, I also assisted in developing a middle school youth leadership program at The Club. Ten middle school participants at The Club worked extensively with The Club staff and I on a multi-faceted Lead Poisoning prevention, research and outreach project:
- Students prepared a public service announcement video on lead poisoning prevention
- Students participated in the national Fundred Project - a national project seeking to spread awareness about lead poisoning through art making and student-driven activism (www.fundred.org)
- Students tested samples of paint and ground soil in Collington Square for lead, and prepared research materials for The Club's Extra Mile Walk, an annual walk-a-thon festival and fundraiser.
Working at The Club allowed me the opportunity to develop a deep relationship with an entirely new community, and see more clearly then ever before the impact that community organizations have on a neighborhood. Although my primary focus was teaching students in our after school program, I also had the opportunity to meet dozens of parents and community residents, as well as the staff and active members of other local community organizations and institutions. Finally, through the projects I implemented in the spring semester, I experienced the beautification of the neighborhood with artwork my students created, and the reclaiming of public space through community events that we organized.