Through the Community Foundation's capacity building grant, Greensboro Project Space has partnered with Church World Services to design a program that caters to the children of refugee families who are between the ages of 18-23. Many of these young people hover between finishing high school and looking for a job. Church World Services approached us to find a way to unite young people in engagement with their own artistic practice, the Greensboro community, and to the resources at UNCG. Our solution is called ‘Surround School.’ Surround School offers art and music courses taught by UNCG students through a barter system. In order to receive credit for taking two classes, the program requires that participants go to a social event that focuses on their instrument or medium. For instance, in order to get credit for two guitar lessons, the student would attend a concert involving guitars. After taking lessons and attending a related event, the student is encouraged to continue participating using the same educational structure.Our philosophy acknowledges that while it is important to learn an instrument or medium, the communities that surround the performing arts are essential to learning and growing. It is extremely helpful to witness professional musicians utilizing their craft, or professional artists exhibiting their work in a gallery. Being present for events helps students to understand the limitless possibilities, careers and communities that are embedded in a particular artistic discipline. Participation allows young refugees to enrich themselves creatively while joining the Greensboro community.
Recitals and art exhibitions motivate students to practice their evolving skills and allow students to showcase their work as part of the greater city art sphere. Our GPS Kiosks are 4 foot tall metal structures for artists use in community engaged programing. They are versatile, mobile structures that can be placed in different parts of our city. At the end of each semester, the Surround School students will present an original piece of music or art within their own communities and the GPS Kioks will act as markers for the exhibit space.