Area schools are taking advantage of the artist in residence program put on by the North Dakota Council on the Arts. The program allows artists to share their skills with students through a grant funded jointly by the council and the participating school or non-profit.

The grant pays for supplies and artist fees to enhance and expand the existing arts program at the school.

“We believe that all students have the capacity to do art it’s just a matter of access,” said Rebecca Engelman, the arts in education director for the North Dakota Council on the Arts. Engelman said the program’s purpose is to add to the existing arts program at the school and for the artist to expose varying types of art to students.

Visual artist Jane Kalmbach was the artist in residency at Lewis and Clark Elementary School from Feb. 21 to March 2. Kalmbach said she enjoys teaching and creating simple art projects that students can recreate at home. “I try to incorporate what teachers are teaching,” said Kalmbach. She incorporates clay sculptures, drawings, line art, etc., and it opens children up to all forms of art, said Kalmbach.

Students in Natalie Ferderer’s fourth-grade class was one of many classes Kalmbach worked with during her time at Lewis and Clark. “You get to use your hands and I like to use my hands to sculpt,” said fourth-grader Evan Austin about the clay dogs students sculpted on Tuesday.

St. Joseph School in Mandan also had an artist in residence this week, the Australian cultural kaleidoscope featuring Martin and Nellie Beggs from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Throughout the week the Beggs taught students Australian poetry, songs, dances, and shared their country’s history, culture, as well as traditional folk dance. St. Joseph’s principal, Valerie Vogel, said, “The kids are very engaged, they think this is so fantastic.”

“It’s an extremely important part of a child’s education to introduce them to all different cultures,” said Vogel. Students at St. Joseph’s will perform songs and dances they have learned throughout the week at 1:30 p.m. today in the St. Joseph School gym. The public is invited to attend.

 March 22 through April 21, artist Ali Larock will be at Fort Lincoln Elementary as an artist in residence. Larock will teach the students 3-demisional art and how to work with clay. On May 9, an art gallery and ice cream social to observe the students' work will be held at Fort Lincoln for parents, said Principal Jean Schafer.

For more information on the artist in residence program or the North Dakota Council on the Arts, visit www.nd.gov/arts or call 701-328-7590.

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Reach Tyana Johnson at 701-250-8250 or editor@mandan-news.com.