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Midcoast art program teaches students to think outside of the box

Leaps of Imagination teaches not step-by-step, but how to use creativity and imagination to think outside of the box.

ROCKLAND, Maine — One art program based out of Rockport is heading into schools to teach the importance of creativity through art, helping students to think outside of the box rather than stick to strict directions.

March is Youth Art Month, a time to encourage support for quality school arts programs.

Leaps of Imagination aims to teach students through art not step-by-step, but rather how to use their creativity and imagination to think outside of the box.

"I think art changes the way kids think," Leaps of Imagination Executive Director Nancy Frohlich said. "And so what we're doing here is teaching children to observe, hypothesize, to imagine."

At Rockland South Elementary School, instructors spent the day with third graders to learn more about the nature around them, and how that translates onto paper. 

Students were instructed to take a jar and fill it with an assortment of nature findings, and then attempt to draw it onto paper. 

"You're not saying, 'This is one way to draw a piece of bark or a stick.' You're teaching them how to look," lead instructor and artist Susan Beebe said. 

The group currently hosts multiple programs, all of which Beebe said is never the same as they learn and grow alongside the students. 

Through mistakes and discovery, the learning spills over into other subjects in the classroom and beyond.

"They really believe in themselves as creators, and that's why what we're doing now will impact the way they contribute to their communities," Frohlich said. 

The students will now take their drawings off of paper in their next session with the program and attempt to carve them into rubber blocks. 

The students' drawings will be on display at Leaps of Imagination's 10th Anniversary event on March 11. 


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