After School Program

Voices of the Woods

Averill Park High School | October - November 2019

The proposed program, Voices of the Woods, will provide an after-school digital arts program for Averill Park High School hosted by Arts Letters & Numbers and lead by Natasha Holmes, Fellow. Voices of the Woods aims to expose local youth to the facilities and community of ALN while addressing social issues in online youth culture today. Students will meet for two-hour workshops weekly for eight weeks in the ALN studios at the old Faith Mills. Workshops will be centered around digital photography and printing through hands-on labs and the interface of social media while discussing the context of self in nature and to objects in the area. By documenting the process of the project through social media, students will not only learn contemporary  design and be encouraged to explore outdoors, but will also learn how to use social media as a proactive creative tool. The last two workshops will be dedicated to students curating a public exhibition of their works to be shown at ALN.

Intended outcomes of Voices of the Woods include creating an inclusive space for youth, increasing access to the arts, demonstrating productive uses of social media, and strengthening ties between ALN and APHS. By empowering students with decision-making roles, creative problem solving, and a supportive social environment, Voices of the Woods will provide a sense of belonging for youth seeking an open platform of expression. This program will provide significant insight into the needs of the local youth community that can inform future programming.

Voices of the Woods will tackle youth-specific issues in the Averill Park that have been identified in ALN’s ongoing dialogues with the community. Recent focus groups held by The Town of Sand Lake with local high school students have identified a lack of destinations and public space sufficient for a healthy youth culture. Nancy Perry, Town Board Supervisor, has expressed support for the program, which will achieve community goals of increasing recreational and educational space for youth, key concerns as the youth community has struggled with the nationwide opioid crisis in recent years. The program has also received enthusiastic support from NOpiates Committee, a local community group dedicated to raising addiction awareness who strongly advocates for ALN as a community-building entity. The program was made possible by the initiative of Fellow Nick Meehan and funded by the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program.

This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by The Arts Center of the Capital Region.