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Library Art Exhibit Demonstrates Youth Creativity, Character Building

Posted on May 13, 2022

Johnstown, PA (May 13, 2022) – Whether it was messages shared to make people smile or an artistic depiction of their dreams for the future, participants in The Learning Lamp’s After School Outreach Program engaged in a year-long artistic expression of thoughts, emotions, and skill-building over the 2021-22 school year. The public is invited to view children’s artwork at a Spring Art Exhibit hosted by the Cambria County Library in downtown Johnstown beginning May 16.

The Learning Lamp’s free, community-based after school programs in Johnstown’s Coopersdale and Oakhurst neighborhoods support children in grades K-7 from the Greater Johnstown School District. Students worked individually and in groups to complete approximately 125 pieces of artwork that correspond to lessons rooted in healthy social-emotional development. In addition to receiving help with homework each afternoon, students learned and practiced social-emotional competencies via arts-infused projects designed by a Master’s-level counselor and implemented by on-site staff.

“The kids really enjoyed the Heart Art activity and did such a nice job with it. We encouraged them to think about who is important to them and who they give and receive love from,” explained Outreach Counselor Val Fletcher, M.Ed. “Each student traced his or her hand and forearm to represent the foundational tree of their lives. They then used different colored strips of paper to create hearts representing those people in their lives that they care about and who provide them with support.”

Expression through art can lead to discovery of personal strengths, greater empathy and understanding of the people and world around us, goal setting, and healthy decision-making, as well as being therapeutic when working through difficult emotions. The initiative, which was funded in part from a grant from 1889 Foundation and the PA Rural Arts Alliance, covered five domains of social-emotional growth and development including Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Responsible Decision-Making, Social Awareness, and Relationship Skills.

Artwork will be display on the main floor of the library as well as in the Children’s Area on the second floor through May 20. A special mural that coincides with the library’s summer theme of “Oceans of Possibilities” will remain on display throughout the summer. Students created sharks, coral, schools of fish, octopus, and jellyfish for the mural. Library patrons will be invited to create their own ocean creatures to place on the mural when they visit over the summer months.

The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. In 2021, The Learning Lamp served 28,160 youth/adults from 51 school districts and 69 other schools and organizations in 19 Pennsylvania counties. Our programs include: child care and preschool, after school programs, tutoring, SAT prep, online learning, credit recovery, alternative education and specialized classrooms for at-risk students, trauma support groups for children/families, temporary staffing, and grant writing and project consulting for schools.



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