Art Academy open for fourth- to eighth-graders

BY M. SCOTT MORRIS

Daily Journal

TUPELO – The arts have a new home, and it's the C.C. Augustus Center on North Green Street.

That's where Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority is presenting a free Art Academy from 9-11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We're focusing on five areas of art: creative writing, theater, visual arts, dance and music,” said Tupelo Councilwoman Nettie Davis, a member of the sorority and one of the academy instructors.

The program is funded by proceeds raised by the Ebony Fashion Fair, an event AKA sponsored at the BancorpSouth Center this winter.

“Everything is free and it's open for everyone, not just African-Americans,” Davis said.

The academy is geared to students from fourth to eighth grade. During the summer, there will be no limit on the number of students who may participate. That may change when school starts and the classes are taught 4-6 p.m., Davis said.

“We may have to do some screening and interviewing during the school year, but we're not worried about that now,” she said.

Teachers qualified

Davis, who taught art in the Tupelo Public School District for 28 years, will teach visual arts. Janice Scales, another Tupelo school veteran, will teach music. Vera Dukes and Krystan Jackson will teach theater and creative writing. Jackson and Davis are co-chairwomen for the program.

“If there's anybody in the community who is qualified to teach and they want to volunteer, they can be part of this, too,” Davis said.

The Art Academy is meant to be a starting point. AKA members traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to find out about the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

“They started off similar to us, on a small level with an academy. Now, you can go there and get a degree just like you can at any other high school,” Davis said. “We're going to start small and go to a higher level. It's not going to go for two months and stop. It's going to continue.”

Applications are available at the C.C. Augustus Center, Tupelo Department of Parks and Recreation and area churches.

For information, call (662) 842-5506 or 871-8394.