Arts & CultureArts & Culture Features

Arts and Culture Opportunities Abound for Local K-12 Students

This month, college and K-12 students are leaving behind their summer activities to return to school, but that doesn’t mean fun must be traded in for boredom. Whatever time of year it is, plenty of local nonprofit, on-campus and city-run organizations offer opportunities for students looking to expand their cultural horizons. Here are four such groups to check out. Find lots more helpful listings in this year’s Flagpole Guide to Athens, on stands and online now.

MOVE: East Athens Educational Dance Center

The EAEDC is an Athens Clarke County-funded facility with opportunities for students young and old, new and experienced. Under the leadership of Facilities Supervisor Nena Gilreath, the center is expanding. New programs include pre-pointe, boys drum and dance, African dance workshops and adult stretching alongside traditional ballet, jazz, tap and modern classes. The latter four are offered for students who want to dance for fun in single classes and those who are more serious about the craft in accelerated, gifted and junior gifted programs. Groups perform periodically throughout the community and at the Morton Theatre.

These opportunities are made available to a greater portion of local students through the center’s scholarship program, which offers support from 25–75 percent. This way, “everyone gets a chance,” Gilreath says. “We have a very diverse population of students, ages, races [and] cultures.” These opportunities allow the center to be “very representative of what art is—it brings everyone together.”

Fall registration began Aug. 5, so jump online to secure a spot.

PLAY: UGA Community Music School

If you want to learn almost any instrument of your choice, you don’t have to look far. UGA’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music houses the Community Music School. Teachers include CMS’s faculty, HHSOM undergrads, graduate students and a smattering of professors and staff members. They teach individual lessons and classes, which are available for most instruments and voice.

Students range from 4-year-olds learning the Suzuki method to senior-citizen members of the New Horizons program, which places students in band, orchestra or piano classes. Director Kristin Jutras says the CMS wants “to take you from where you are to where you want to go. We want you to enjoy music.” As a bonus, the CMS has a very relaxed attitude, because “not everyone is trying to become a professional musician.”

Registration and more information is available at

ACT: Athens Creative Theatre

For students with dreams of the stage, community theater is a great place to gain experience. The Athens Creative Theatre offers many opportunities. ACT’s fall productions open to students are A Christmas Story (ages 8 and up) and Almost Maine (high school and up).

For those looking ahead, ACT offers classes starting in January, including Monologues and More, a program designed to teach teens and adults with special needs basic theater skills, and Beginning ACTing Workshop (ages 8–12). ACT also offers Teen Encore Camps to teach students theatre tech, light and sound skills (ages 13–18) and musical theater and theater performance programs (ages 8–12) in the summertime.

Program Leader Daniel Self says ACT welcomes all regardless of skill level. “All are welcome at ACT.” Programming is subject to change, so keep an eye on for any possible additions.

CREATE: Lyndon House Arts Center

Another cultural staple, the Lyndon House offers classes for all ages, though Toni Carlucci, program leader in art education, says it’s best to “start while you’re young.” This fall, Lyndon House offers several unique art programs for K-12 students. For children ages 4–6, there are three sections of Art Time, a class dabbling in drawing, painting, clay and crafts. Other classes include Art for Homeschool Students, which looks at art from many cultures through painting, pottery, beading and mosaic; Books That Turn, Twist, Pop and Drop, where 7–11-year-old students learn to build their own books; Teen Cartoon Illustrators Club, a club for 12–18-year-olds, which meets every other Thursday to create anime and other cartoons with pizza and soda; and Through the Lens, a video/filmmaking class for 9–12-year-olds.

Most classes run for six weeks and cost $42 for ACC residents. Further details can be found here. Sign up ASAP; registration opened for ACC residents Friday, Aug. 5 at 9 a.m., and classes, particularly those for children ages 4–6, fill up quickly.