Renaissance on the Eastside: Motivating inner- city youth through art

Gasman, M., & Anderson-Thompkins, S. (2003). Renaissance on the Eastside: Motivating inner- city youth through art. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 8, 429-450.

Abstract:

The study reports on the effects of a community based visual arts program called Artists in the Making (AIM) on four pre-teen students. The AIM program is designed to foster students’ skills in the visual arts as well as their motivation and self-esteem. The researchers conducted interviews with the four students over two years to understand the program’s impact. They found that the program helped students to self-discover, problem solve, and improve their artistic skills.

Key Findings:

The AIM program helped students to self-discover, problem solve, and improve their artistic skills.

Significance of the Findings:

The study found that students in a low-income area reported benefits from participating in the AIM visual arts program. By focusing on four students, this study provides more in-depth description about the experiences of the students, which researchers could use as a starting point for larger-scale studies.

Methodology:

Researchers followed four of 40 students who participated in the AIM after school visual arts program held in a community center. The four students participated in six 3 ½ month arts sessions over a period of two years. The students participated in sessions on painting, drawing, mixed media, and sculpture. The evaluators interviewed the four students a total of 12 times throughout the two years. Evaluators also observed the students during the sessions.

Limitations of the Research:

The study collected data on only four of 40 participating students in the AIM program. The researchers did not provide a rationale for why these four students were chosen or how they were chosen. The researchers discussed that they are conducting a larger study where all participating students were interviewed. For the larger study, researchers also collected data from teacher reports and observations. These results are not discussed in this report.

Questions to Guide New Research:

Did the program have a similar impact on the other participating students? Would the program have similar impact if it focused on other art forms? What is the impact when the data collected from the teachers are analyzed?