`Out of the box,' into arts

Maryland Hall to offer classes for 25 children from housing projects

April 02, 1999|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

For years, the ballet classes and music recitals at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts have seemed beyond the financial reach of children from some of Annapolis' poorer neighborhoods.

Next month, Maryland Hall will begin its first program to bridge that gap, immersing 25 children from the city's public housing communities in Bach, Baryshnikov and Botticelli for eight to 10 weeks.

Instructors will give them weekly after-school lessons in art, dance and music.

"Most of these children don't get a chance to go to Maryland Hall due to financial blocks," said Ward 6 Democratic Alderman Cynthia A. Carter, who approached the arts center in January with the idea for the program.

"Their whole world is designed around behavior that's very negative. Their limits are going to school, going home and behaving themselves. I call them boxes. They're put in a box, and we need to get them out of the box and explore their talents."

The program, which will begin the first week of May, will cost a little less than $3,000.

The center is hoping to get help with funding from the Annapolis Housing Authority.

Darius Stanton, chairman of Maryland Hall's outreach committee, said the committee members plan to start advertising the program in Annapolis' public housing communities next week and take applications soon thereafter.

They will take the first 25 children from ages 7 to 11 who sign up.

He said the committee is working on providing transportation for the children.

"The true goal for this program is to give them an introduction to education in the arts, to promote their desire to want to become more involved in arts and spread that among their peers," Stanton said. "I don't really feel like we do a good enough job of giving enough credence to arts.

"Affordability should not be a question in terms of education, and arts is just another form of education."

Stanton said Maryland Hall hopes to continue the program in the fall by having the 25 children enroll in classes that feature subjects that catch their interest through the spring session.

"Once they have a foundation and an appreciation for arts," Stanton said, "they will also become the generation that will really support the arts."

Pub Date: 4/02/99

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