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North Arkansas College art instructor and Northark Arts Initiative leader Cynthia Dollard, MFA, teaches a class at the college.

North Arkansas College has announced the Northark Arts Initiative which will expand art offerings through the end of December 2020. The Initiative is funded by a grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation and will unfold in three phases over the next several years, with the recent grant award supporting the Phase I.

According to Northark public relations and marketing director Micki Somers, Phase I, Cultivating Relationships, focuses on raising the visibility of the arts across disciplines and age groups, strengthening the creative arts community at Northark, incorporating the arts more fully into the curriculum, and integrating these programs into the wider community through community outreach.

Additionally, Phase I of the initiative will include a wide range of extra-curricular offerings for students, art classes for high school students throughout the region, presentations at Northark and at high schools, integrating the arts into other areas of study by building curriculum across disciplines, presenting art shows and competitions at Northark and cultivating relationships with other art resources in the region.

Phase II expands art programs established in Phase I while building interdisciplinary studies relating to the arts and increasing options for transfer credits to serve university transfer students.

Phase III adds degree programs in the art disciplines. This phase continues expanding studio art facilities and adds classes, developing a two-year Fine Arts degree and provides transfer classes for other art-related career paths such as art therapy and art conservation while also building education programs in fine craft disciplines such as blacksmithing, furniture design and ceramics.

"Developing the creative potential leads to innovation and original thought across educational disciplines and in all areas of life, leading to greater self-confidence and success," says Northark art instructor and initiative leader Cynthia Dollard, MFA. In addition to teaching art classes at Northark, Dollard served as founder and director of the Youth Arts program in Newton County and developed the Art Teacher Mentorship program which supports students interested in teaching art at the K-12 level.

The goals of the initiative are to strengthen art programs at Northark, and in the region, cultivating relationships with area schools and community members by offering art education programs and events, developing cross curricular art programs across disciplines at the college, building curriculum and extra-curricular art activities, expanding art facilities, and strengthening partnerships relating to art education between Northark and universities in the region.

The ultimate goal of the first phase of the Northark Arts Initiative is to bring art programs to a wider demographic of students and community members by offering a variety of classes to accommodate a range of ages, skill levels and media, thus raising the value of the visual arts at the college.

For more information about the Northark Arts Initiative contact Cynthia Dollard by email at cdollard@northark.edu or by phone at (870) 204-0813.

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