What Makes ArtistCorps Great?

By Marie Smith, Diggs-Latham Elementary, Paisley Middle School

As the year has wrapped up I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes the ArtistCorps program so special. For me, the answer is that it presents opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

Much of my service has been one-on-one or small group work that allows me to provide direct attention during students’ normal class time. I am able to address individual issues in ways that are difficult or impossible in large ensemble settings, simply due to time restraints and the diversity of needs presented in a band class. Many of the students I work with don’t have the means to seek out individual lessons on a regular basis, but I have seen such amazing progress and work ethic in those students. I love being able to give that time to them, and those also tend to be the students who show the most gratitude and willingness to learn.

All of the amazing impact we see in the schools we serve really wouldn’t be possible without the organization and funding of the AmeriCorps/ArtistCorps programs. As students and young professionals, it would be incredibly difficult for us to donate the time that we spend serving. The living stipend and education award provide a compensation for our time while we use our expertise to provide meaningful service in our community, especially parts of the community that are underserved.

ArtistCorps is truly an amazing collaboration and partnership between the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Winston-Salem communities. The relationships we build between ourselves and the teachers and students we work with are unique and rare. Few other programs foster the consistency of instruction and outreach that is achieved through ArtistCorps. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in this program – to work with such great students, to have an outlet to hone my teaching skills, and to feel supported in serving my community through my strengths and talents.

May 29, 2017