Arts Council

Although some may feel that art education is a luxury, the simple act of creativity is vitally important for kids.  Drawing, painting, and working with clay will develop visual skills that are more important than ever.  Making art, holding a paintbrush, or scribbling with a crayon are essential in building motor skills in young children.  According to the National Institutes of Health, 33% of kids are visual learners.  Kids paint, use scissors and make art way before they begin to read or write.  In a world filled with computers and smart phones, art encourages kids to give more attention to the physical three-dimensional space/world that surrounds them.  They need to draw, paint, smear, bend, paste. As our high schools put less and less emphasis on art, with most only offering minimum graduation requirements, one can’t help but wonder how this might affect our young people over the long-term.   We say we’re preparing our young people for the workplace. We say we’re preparing them to be good citizens.  Shouldn’t we also be teaching them to enjoy deeper forms of creativity and beauty? I think so. We’re happy to see events that emphasize precisely that – the arts.

Recently, we worked on an ad campaign for the Southeast Missouri Arts Council—print ads and a TV spot. The concept was simple—art helps you find your inner child.

The talents of our production crew were over-the-top. The costume design by Laurie Everett, the hair and make up by Viv Meyers and Anne Huston and the models were all simply wonderful. Shooting with these kids was an hysterical experience.



This story is about all the cool art opportunities there are for kids in the 573 over the summer. Some are organized by local colleges and others from the local arts councils. I can guarantee my kids would not be sitting around on the Internet when there are such great art opportunities laying around.

It’s time to help your kids discover passion and life in real-time. You can do it—don’t be lazy. Your kids are watching every move or NO move you make.

The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, located in Downtown Cape Girardeau, is proud to support numerous programs focused on children’s art education. Annually, the Arts Council’s galleries play host to the Children’s Arts Festival. During this month-long juried exhibit in February, gallery walls feature nearly 300 pieces of children’s artwork from grades 3 – 8, with the top 5 pieces from each grade level included in a booklet dedicated to the event. In recent years, the Children’s Arts Festival has also incorporated a poetry component, which encourages youth to write about their artwork. To advocate for art education in Missouri schools, pieces are also selected from the Children’s Arts Festival, framed, and presented to regional legislators for display in their offices for a year.

In addition to the Children’s Arts Festival, the Arts Council gallery showcases youth artwork through the Annual Congressional High School Art Competition Exhibit in May, as well as the Summer Art Academy exhibit in August. Visitors can enjoy these exhibits, and other gallery showings, during the First Friday with the Arts event each First Friday from 5 PM – 9 PM. A special pet-friendly art walk, Pet’s Night Out, is scheduled for the June First Friday on June 5th. Make it a family affair by bringing your furbabies!

In collaboration with Southeast Missouri State University, the Arts Council also sponsors numerous youth arts-workshops throughout the summer and during the school year. Summer workshops take place at the University through accredited faculty and instructors during the Summer Art Academy. Classes offered range from age 6 – 18, and cover the spectrum from drawing and painting classes to ceramics, sculpture, and recycled art courses. Opportunities are also included for adults.

ArtReach, an out-of-school arts education program, targets underserved youth in the Cape Girardeau area. Sites include The Bridge in South Cape, Jefferson Elementary, the Cape Public Library, and Cape Academy. Workshops take place 6 weeks each school semester, and allow students the opportunity to further explore their artistic interests.

Murielle Gaither -Executive Director of the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri


In addition to these off-site programs, the Arts Council also makes it a priority to host child-friendly arts workshops and presentations during Saturday Socials throughout the year. In June 2015, the Saturday Social schedule will include animal related events to tie in with Wild Things, a National Juried Exhibit focused on art with an animal theme. In July, pewter specialists Tom and Pat Hooper from ASL Pewter in Ste. Genevieve will present at the Arts Council. To keep informed about when these and other programs are scheduled, please subscribe to our newsletter by visiting our website:

By educating youth about the arts, the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri hopes to inspire a passion that lasts a lifetime!

Rhonda Weller-Stilson -Director and Associate Dean,
Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts

The River Campus is truly a special place.  I call it the Jewel on the Mississippi.  We are an arts destination.  Not only do we present hundreds of productions and exhibits throughout the year, but we also have programming for people of all ages to experience and create art.  There is something for everyone.  Small children have the opportunity to experience art for the first time in various art academies, camps and the River Campus Summer Arts Festival.

This is the place where children as young as 3 years old can begin the Suzuki String program with the Music Academy.  First graders start on piano and violin, while at the same time teenagers are honing their skills with voice, organ and writing compositions.  The Music Academy has close to 200 students a year in private lessons.  The spring recitals in each area are always a joy to attend.  I personally enjoy the energy the families bring to this campus.  Once school lets out every afternoon, we have multiple children studying in all of our buildings.

The Summer Art Academy offers classes in ceramics, drawing, painting, and other mediums.  I am amazed at the level of work the children create for the academy.  Carol Horst does a wonderful job organizing this programming and then displaying the work in galleries.

Theatre and Dance offers summer workshops using popular literature to get the kids excited about acting, dancing, and singing.  This summer children have the opportunity to dance to music from “Frozen” and “Newsies”, while others will study the scripts of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” and “Snow White”.  Throughout the year, we also offer musical theatre experience classes on Saturdays.  Over 30 young students recently studied “Cinderella” and demonstrated their work to a full house in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre.

We are committed to offering to this community opportunities to not only view art, but to also become part of the art making.  That is why we are so excited about the second annual River Campus Summer Arts Festival.  The festival allows everyone to participate in the various art forms and to be entertained throughout the day for free.  Community members can dance in hip-hop or country line classes, have their faces painted, tryout a musical instrument, watch a stage combat demonstration, listen to a variety of music, talk to professional artists, be dazzled by magic tricks, and so much more.

And lastly, I can’t say enough about this summer’s musical, Seussical.  I expect this production to sell out all ten performances.  It is appropriate for all ages.  You don’t have to have children to enjoy.  All of us have grown up reading Dr. Seuss books.  This story is a combination of many of your favorite characters including The Cat in the Hat, Horton, and The Grinch.  It will be colorful and imaginative.

Danielle Basler -Director of the Mineral Area Council on the Arts


“The K-12 Art Show, which happens on April 25th is always a favorite.  Last year’s show had 1,378 entries and we’re expecting a similar turnout for this year’s event. We’re always impressed by the quality of work that is exhibited at the show and love to hear about how the student artists are honored in their home districts after the show is over. Many schools will honor participants from our show at their own in-school displays and often the winning artists are recognized by their school boards. It’s always great to see the students receive recognition for their artistic endeavors!

Right now, we are hosting a contest that is open to K-12 Students in our area. It’s called “Art Blooms in Farmington.” We are partnering with the city to produce floral-themed light pole banners to be displayed in downtown Farmington during the summer of 2015. Here’s a link to the entry form for that:

While the schedule hasn’t officially been announced yet for summer 2015, Mineral Area College plans for arts classes for all different ages.
Grade 2-3: Art Under the Sea, Creative Cuddly Creatures
Grade 4-8: Wearable Art
Grade 6-8: Art + Science of Kaleidoscopes, Wild and Zany Portrait Studio
Grade 7-9: Upcycling Fashion”




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Find Your Inner Child -Arts Council Final from 573 Magazine / Insider 573 on Vimeo.


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