Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA students lead ARTS workshops

Arts Renaissance, a program offered at Woodland Forest and Matthews elementary schools, is looking to recruit new volunteers from The University of Alabama.

ARTS is led by New College associate professor of anthropology Marysia Galbraith and is offered to students from kindergarten to fifth grade. It aims to share the creative resources generated at the University with Tuscaloosa elementary schools by presenting them with arts-related workshops.

The program partners with Kentuck, a nonprofit community arts organization based in Northport. Volunteers may choose from a list of workshops that include dance, creative writing, decoupage and pottery making. Workshops are generally 30-60 minutes long and are held during the regular school day, usually from 12:30-2 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

Student volunteers can apply to earn credit through New College and can participate for as few as three hours. They can earn significantly more credit, however, by developing their own workshop. Though most workshops are held on a one-time basis, those that require a more in-depth understanding from the student, like dance, poetry writing and improvisation, may be offered as a series.

Amy Ackerman, an ARTS volunteer at Matthews Elementary, created a workshop that she will present to fourth graders at the school. Ackerman recruited members from the University’s Million Dollar Band to help her teach the students different Alabama football cheers.

“It’s going to be so much fun, and I’m so excited,” Ackerman said. “Students look up to younger role models. I [previously] volunteered at the pottery workshop. The kids looked to me for advice. They were really outgoing and friendly, and I had a lot of fun.”

Meredith Randall, a volunteer art graduate student, has worked previously with the program’s ceramic pottery workshop. She said she has enjoyed making art her entire life and views ARTS as a perfect way to share her gift with the community.

“It was a valuable experience for me,” Randall said. “I enjoy seeing participants light up when they get involved in the workshop and find enjoyment in art. UA students have a lot of interesting passions, and this program allows students to share those passions with other students.”

To sign up, students may visit the ARTS website at According to Ackerman, the program accepts volunteers throughout the academic year and does not have a limit on the number of volunteers chosen.

“UA students help continue the process by volunteering,” Randall said. “The program allows students to be involved with the community.”

In addition to providing workshops for the students, ARTS will deliver a concert featuring musicians from the Alabama Blues Project. The students will also have the chance to hear lectures on topics like engineering, rocketry and aerospace and will later take a field trip to the UA campus.

“Our students are excited about the ARTS Renaissance Program,” Matthews Elementary School Principal David Scott said. “It exposes them to more educational opportunities that they would not ordinarily experience. It also allows us to be more involved with the community.”

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