Latrobe, PA: What is the value of an arts education? As a community art gallery in the heart of downtown Latrobe, Latrobe Art Center recognizes the importance of teaching the arts as a means for children to express themselves and develop their creativity. “Latrobe Art Center proudly announces that over 700 students have participated in the many spring programs offered through partnerships with several schools and organizations. These classes are part of an ongoing commitment towards community engagement and support the art center’s mission of encouraging children to share in the creative process” stated Gabrielle Nastuck, director of Latrobe Art Center.
“The season began with an exhibition of students’ artwork from Penn Trafford Middle school, where 350 students submitted an original piece that was designed in the classrooms of art teachers Jane DeBone and Carla Gialloreto. After the Penn Trafford display, the gallery was transformed into an oceanic oasis with the presentation of the Champion of the Arts Exhibit. With support from the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit and Latrobe Carpenter Steel, Latrobe Art Center welcomed 222 special needs students from 12 school districts to visit the art center and participate in “under the sea” themed art projects. A reception was held Thursday, May 7, with special guest Ted Kopas joining director Gabrielle Nastuck in presenting awards and congratulating the students’ hard work. In addition to the Champion of the Arts Program, Latrobe Art Center also hosts life skills students from Latrobe and Belle Vernon school districts. Known as “the buddies,” the 29 participants come to the art center to work on different projects and learn new art techniques. The program continues until the end of the school year, and Latrobe Art Center enjoys watching the students progress and develop their creative talents.”
Several upcoming shows are planned including the Poems and Painting reception on Tuesday, May 12 with Write Local, a nonprofit that inspires young writers to think creatively and innovate locally. The organization’s founder, Krista Sarraf, says: “Throughout the Poems and Paintings series, students of all ages chose and cozied up to a painting in Latrobe Art Center’s gallery and wrote ten-line poems to accompany the artwork. Sometimes the poems used strong sensory words, sometimes students imagined stories beyond the image, but in all cases, the young writers looked closely and intently at art, and for that they should be proud.” Family, friends, and members of the community are invited to attend the reception which will be held Tuesday, May 12 from 6:00 – 8:00 P.M. for the 80 students from Christ the Divine Teacher School and homeschool instruction. Another art show will be held the students of Prince of Peace school on Tuesday, May 19 from 6:00 – 8:00 P.M.
Latrobe Art Center director, Gabrielle Nastuck, notes “while April and May are perhaps our busiest months teaching children from around the county, seeing the students develop an interest in the arts and express their creativity is what makes these programs rewarding.” With a strong commitment to community engagement, Latrobe Art Center strives to recognize the value of an arts education by encouraging creative, well-rounded individuals.