All About Richland

New Education Wing To Boost Art Center and Schools Collaboration

26 Jan , 2019  

The Mansfield Art Center and Mansfield City Schools will work together over the coming year to develop the details of the Tyger STEAM after-school program for students interested in high-fire ceramic and glass art.

Plans will move forward in the wake of this week’s announcement that the art center exceeded its $2.7 million campaign goal for new construction that will include a 4,200-square-foot education wing.

“We hope to have construction completed and the education wing operating by the fall of 2020,” George Whitten, the art center’s executive director, said Thursday. “Weather factors could impact the construction schedule, but that’s our goal.”

Whitten outlined Tyger STEAM to the board of education in August, explaining that an A for art will be added to the STEM acronym – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “Students will experience high-fire ceramics and glass-blowing in a studio art environment. It will be a structured program using Ohio Department of Education standards,” Whitten said at the board’s August 21 meeting.

Whitten told the Mansfield News Journal that publicity about the Tyger STEAM program generated a positive start to the art center’s fundraising effort. “The after-school program was the sleeper that people really embraced. That was the first money that came in,” he said in a story by reporter Mark Caudill.

A five-member committee will develop curriculum guidelines for the Tyger STEAM program. That panel includes Mindy Duncan and Julia Galley, Mansfield Senior High art teachers; Phil Mitchell of the district’s S.A.F.E. and gifted office; Judy Gibson, a member of the art center board, and John Thrasher, an art professor at Ohio State University-Mansfield.

“It (Tyger STEAM) will be a unique opportunity for our students to experience a gallery setting,” Duncan said, emphasizing that details about the structure of the program and its frequency remain to be decided.

Whitten agreed, adding that the center’s new education director will be in place before the building is finished.

The committee’s work will include creation of an application/selection process for students in Tyger STEAM and development of a mentoring program in which high school students would mentor middle school students as they enter the program.

A tentative written outline provided by the art center indicates that one art teacher and one science/math/engineering teacher would be on site to team teach lessons during the after-school classes. “Tyger STEAM could be after school maybe twice a week, maybe Tuesday and Thursday. Maybe more. That remains to be determined,” he said. “Students who might want to continue a project could come to the art center on the weekend too.”

Superintendent Brian Garverick said the district will explore the possibility of providing transportation for participating students. The education center will have a dozen pottery wheels, Whitten said, and a university-level gas-fired kiln whose different temperatures and internal atmospheres will react with glaze to create different colors.

The capital improvement campaign also will include a new, large pavilion with covered seating in a park-like setting and other center renovations.

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