–The Paso Robles Youth Arts Center has announced a new, “Virtual Studio” featuring Visual & Performing Arts lessons for youth ages 5-18 years, accessible during the shelter in place and beyond. Click here to enroll.
Due to the COVID-19, the center was forced to close its doors to nearly 400 students, their peers, along with a staff of 22. Students were preparing dances, songs, theater performances, and art pieces to show their families as they entered the last week of the first session of 2020. Instead, they received notice about the state-ordered shut down resulting in the sudden closure of the center.
Executive Director Mindy Dierks released the following statement in regards to the changes:
“The Paso Robles Youth Arts Center is a special place, unique in the fact that our students come here not only to learn an art form but for the environment, the relationship with their instructor, and the friendships outside their school. We had to wrap our heads around what was happening, how it affects our work, our mission, and how we are going to serve our students — closest to the heart of our purpose. Like many other organizations within the country, we will be going virtual, but how? We felt that creating another online class during a time when all our youth are being bombarded with online classes was not something we wanted to rush. We decided to take a few weeks to allow our students to get settled with their new online academic studies and it gave us time to prepare. Being a student at the Youth Arts Center is a very special thing and how would we mirror that experience with online lessons? The reality is, we can get close. Our students mostly need the connection to their Youth Arts Mentors, support from their peers, and some guidance on how to be inspired and think creatively during this time. I truly feel that this program will be successful, and we have plans to keep the program moving forward even after this pandemic has passed. We are proud of what we do, and I am proud of our team.”
Youth Arts leadership immediately drafted a plan to link students online. The “Virtual Studio” will include approximately 30 classes beginning April 27 – May 29.
Uploads will be tailored to specific lessons, to connect with students, promote discussions, watch videos and remind them that they can create alongside mentors and friends, even from home. Instead of an online institute, different lessons will be offered through the Virtual Studio. Students will read and comment on scripts, view dance, and music videos and work on choreography and songs. Art and Creative Enrichment students will receive virtual lessons and project ideas. Lessons will be designed around supplies students can use to create from home as they continue their social distancing. Students will log in through Google Classroom which most are already familiar with through their schools.
Online enrollment is offered from April 11 to April 15 at pryaf.org/enrollment
To sponsor a Paso Robles Youth Arts Center student today, visit pryaf.org/donate to give a gift at any amount. A gift of $250.00 sponsors a student for a year in their classes. The center has been providing children ages 5 to 18 with free classes in the visual and performing arts for 22 years. For information regarding donating, volunteering, attending performances, fundraisers, or classes, contact the PRYAF office at (805) 238-5825 or visit pryaf.org.