Posted on April 13, 2011

African American Arts Academy Builds Self-Esteem

Sandy Wells, West Virginia Gazette, April 12, 2011

Most campers from the African American Arts and Heritage Academy go on to college. Many achieve professional success. But benefits of the weeklong camp in Morgantown go beyond artistic and cultural education.


In its 19th year, the camp offers classes, workshops, demonstrations and performance opportunities for 40 students ages 13 to 18. Students focus on a discipline of their choice.

Professional artists provide instruction in dance, theater, singing, music (including strings and steel drums), literature, visual arts, arts technology, museum studies, creative writing and songwriting.

The curriculum includes field trips and African-American history, an effort to fill some of the educational and cultural gaps that affect many state teenagers.

When the academy started, the site was a campground with makeshift classrooms. Now located at the Creative Arts Center on the WVU campus, the camp gives students a jump-start on college life, particularly helpful for eventual first-generation college students.