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Summer Arts and Media Program Opens Doors to College for Talented High School Students

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)July 2, 2002

(Mahwah) – Summer, students, and school are three words seldom used in the same sentence by your typical” high school student. Everyone knows that…well, almost everyone. Thirty atypical” high school students who are participants in The Ramapo College Summer Arts and Media Program interpret these words in a different way.

Selected from applicants from many New Jersey and New York area high schools, the students will work with an interdisciplinary group of artists and professors to explore many areas of art, journalism, video, theater, and Web design.

The Summer Arts and Media Program, which will be held July 7-13 on the Ramapo College campus, is the brainchild of Steven Perry, Dean of Ramapo’s School of Contemporary Arts. By harnessing the minds of these students, Perry and his team of artists and teachers aim to provide an educational roller coaster of events intended to boost creativity and rocket students toward achieving their future academic goals. The Summer Arts and Media Program also will give students a taste of the theater, music, communication and visual arts curricula at Ramapo College. The program, which is free to participants, is funded in part by a $7,000 grant from the Ramapo College Foundation. Faculty from the School of Contemporary Arts are donating their time and talents to run the program.

I have been overwhelmed by the commitment and the generosity of our faculty to this program. Professors at all ranks, from adjunct faculty to full professors, are teaching workshops and leading seminars,” says Perry. Our planning sessions have been very stimulating and we have looked for ways to connect the various activities through common themes. Through this process we realized that we are creating a miniature version of the school, where interdisciplinary structure and mission encourage students to explore multiple means of communication and artistic expression.”

During the week-long program, the 30 participants will live in a college residence hall while attending a regular schedule of creative workshops. While students are broadening their experience in the arts and media they will be simultaneously forming relationships with the other participants.

Workshops will include two alternating hour-long sessions each morning, one in Web design, and the other an exploration of the visual arts including the creation of a visual theatrical environment. Afternoon workshops will focus on a combination of improvisational acting and writing, video production and specialized areas of theater production, such as costume design and set design. Lunchtime will include panel discussions led by artists, journalists, musicians, actors, designers, and media producers, who will discuss college programs and professional careers.

Maria Guevara, professional actress and Ramapo theater professor, will teach daily improvisational acting workshops, in which students will use objects with personal meaning to create dramatic scenes. She sees these workshops as vehicles for helping students explore their cultural heritage and artistic skills while stretching the imagination.

I think the program is exciting because as far as I know, none of the students really knows each other, and they will get to know each other through artistic exploration,” says Guevara, who brings 13 years of acting and directing experience to the program.

In the Web design and journalism workshops, students will work with Ramapo faculty members Ian Aronson, Edna Negron, and Patricia Keeton to write, design and create online journals documenting their experience during the program.

Through this experience students will learn how to create a Website from the ground up. The workshop will cover the mechanics of creating, saving and uploading a Web page. They’ll also learn how to use and align images and text,” says Aronson, an assistant professor of digital media, and online documentary producer.

From this experience I hope students will gain an ability to communicate with the larger audience that the Web has created,” Aronson says, adding, Web technology has enabled anyone with the access to a computer and an Internet connection to share opinions and experiences with viewers around the world at the touch of a button. By showing students how to make use of that available Web technology we are helping them to tell the world about anything they want.”

In the visual arts workshops, led by Professors Warner Wada and Shalom Gorewitz, students will explore text, drawings, paintings, photographs, video and found objects to create art installations, which will serve as the setting for the performances of the dramatic scenes and provide material for the Websites created in their other workshops.

The Arts and Media Program will also build in time for recreation and socializing. Serving up aces on the volleyball courts and hiking the serene Ramapo area trails are also on the schedule. An important part of the program for the participants will also include spending time with current Ramapo students, some of whom will be counselors and teaching assistants for the program. One evening will be devoted to Ramapo students presenting their own work and talking about their experience in Web design and video projects.

The workshop concludes with an evening of performances and presentations, which the faculty expect will reveal as much about the value of the working process as the value of finished work. Saturday morning after breakfast, students will bid farewell to the Summer Arts and Media Program but as Dean Perry hopes, they will carry their experiences back to their high schools and, hopefully, return to Ramapo College as students in the School of Contemporary Arts.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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