This week was significantly more eventful than last week. Focusing less on preparation and more on practice, this week was the start of the Summer Arts Camp at the King Arts Complex. Filling the building with music, laughter, and tears, the kids that came to the summer camp were nothing less than vocal. From their issues with the free lunch provided by Columbus Recreation and Park to the issues that came into the classroom, this week came with more challenges than I anticipated. However, they all stemmed from the same general area: engagement. Being a summer camp that provides nearly all of their campers with income based scholarships, it is often difficult to prevent the challenges the campers face outside of the camp from entering the classroom. Acknowledging this challenge, I was amazed at how the staff handled each issue. Knowing most of the kids personally from prior years in the camp, they knew who was dealing with what issues and how they should approach getting through to them. This individualized approach to learning mixed with cultural competency made me understand what it is like to wake up everyday and lead with passion no matter how difficult the day before had been. I continue to see the extent that love and creativity can build trust and community in any space, especially amongst children dealing with trauma.
Along with the observations of the summer camp itself, I have had a lot of time to talk to my supervisor. We discussed the history of the complex and the black art community in Columbus, but we mainly focused on the future. She told me about the difficulties the camp faces with gaining recognition throughout the city and we strategized some solutions. From this conversation, I was given the task of working on ways to promote what is going on at the King Arts Complex to the community and Columbus as a whole. I have begun working on a newsletter as well as a blog about current and upcoming events in hopes of increasing foot traffic in the complex. Along with these things, we discussed the potential of me coming back during the fall semester to organize events that will build a bridge between Ohio State students and the rest of the Columbus community through the King Arts Complex.
Overall, I am excited to see the impact I can have on the complex and what the next week will bring. Here are some photos that I took of the art in the complex to highlight the vibrancy it brings to the entire building.