Usually we don’t see art in the making. But under the right conditions art happens, and we get to see a personal expression of creativity. Creating a fertile, safe environment for art and learning to happen for budding artists grades 3-8, is the everyday business of the Thriving Minds Program, a partnership between the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and Big Thought, Inc. The Bath House is one of the sites for the after-school program and summer camp.
Kineta Massey, lead teacher explained, “There is a huge crossover between the after-school program and summer camp. In the past, summer camp has included 25 students for a full month. This summer it will be split into 2 two-week sessions with 40 kids total. There will be 2 different shows presented. The first will be on Friday, July 19 and the second on Friday, August 2.” It’s a tradition for Thriving Mind campers—they become members of “The Bath House Bunch”—to present end-of-session original performances. In past camp years, they presented plays styled on the Japanese performance styles, Kabuki and bunraku puppet theater.
Classes often combine environmental sciences, literacy, and critical thinking with art, creative dramatics, photography, rhythm and movement. And the young artists become stewards of and participants in art events at “their” Bath House. “One of the things that is unique about having class at the Bath House is that the kids are exposed to all the different art exhibitions. In class we try to focus on creative expression, not right or wrong. I’m more interested in fostering creative thinkers than whether we can all make the same painting of a flower.”
Love of the arts begins early. Creativity needs time and place to be nurtured so it can develop and grow. For the youngsters of Thriving Minds camp and after-school programs, the Bath House Cultural Center is that kind of place.