New arts academy for students age 9 -14

North Central UP

MARQUETTE, Mich., (WJMN) – Shape and Sound Arts Academy opened for students in middle school who are hoping to learn more about art.

They offer both musical and visual arts. Ben Pawlowski teaches visual arts while Patrick Booth teaches music.

Pawlowski and Booth decided to start their art academy because they knew during the pandemic cuts would need to be made at schools and often the arts face those cuts.

“Everything kind of got put into hyper mode when we found out that Bothwell Middle School was indeed cancelling their visual arts program so we knew the community had a big need for something,” said Pawlowski

Their visual art lessons follow three different paths. Students can choose to learn about being an illustrator, designer or mixed-media artist.

“We’re definitely really encouraging students to think outside the box and to be creative problem sovlers and think to think of alternate solutions to things,” said Pawlowski

Students learning about musical arts can learn about improvisation, composition and performance and musicianship. Booth says they will learn from an exploratory standpoint rather than a physical standpoint like a more traditional music class might teach.

“When you’re dealing with smaller groups of students or different minded students, I guess, that exploratory approach can be really important for their development and for their creativity in the long run so they start looking at things more from a possibility stand point rather than a right and wrong standpoint,” said Booth.

Shape and Sound Arts Academy allows for students to choose their own path and learn topics that they are interested in.

“I know from experience that as students you know have a lot more choice in what they’re learning about they take a lot more ownership of it and I think they take it more seriously,” said Pawlowski.

Because of their virtual format they are able to have students from all over join in. They hope to do some in person activities down the road, but Pawlowski says they created the program with the current circumstances of COVID-19 in mind.

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