Grant to tackle bullying

Kara Weber
News Writer

A recent grant of $12,374 given to Millersville University: South Central PaARTners from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) will provide Lincoln Middle School with an “artistic” approach to prevent bullying.

This grant will be used to conduct a multi-disciplinary residency program at the middle school that uses photography, book arts and theater to facilitate an in-depth exploration of the topic of bullying.

The program is conducted by Millersville’s Barry Kornhauser, director of the Millersville’s Family Arts Collaborative and Lancaster-based book artist Mimi Shapiro. It will run from November 11 through April 2014. Kornhauser and Shapiro will work with the students for 60 days.

“I can’t think of a better recipient for such funding. Because of its commitment to the arts, education, and social change, MU is uniquely positioned to serve this kind of programming,” said Kornhauser.

There are three components to this residency. Students will begin the program by taking journaling and creating Shapiro’s trademark “book art” to reflect their experiences and understanding of bullying.

Shapiro will assist the students in helping them to create personal books as well as a single collaborative book. “It’s going to be really exciting to see the ideas that the students have, it all is important for social and emotional intelligence,’ said Shapiro.

They will then build their writing and artwork off of a photo elicitation project. The student group will be given a camera to capture impressions of the bully experience from all points of view.

Kornhauser will step in and assist with turning the “work on the page to work on the stage” by dramatizing some of the content created by the students. “The arts are powerful tools for transformation, building awareness, understanding, and perhaps empathy,” said Kornhauser.

It doesn’t end there. MU social work students, under the guidance of social work professors Dr. Karen Rice and Dr. Heather Girvin, will conduct an assessment of the program’s impact on the Lincoln Middle School students’ attitudes and behaviors regarding bullying.

“Bullying is a major problem in middle schools, especially via social networks,” said Courtney Neale, Senior. “The social media bullying then transfers to the academic setting and negatively affects students emotional state of mind along with their academic learning. I think this program will definitely help students develop a greater awareness and education of bullying in a fun and exciting way with the use various types of art projects.”

Through its partnership with the PCA, Millersville University: South Central PaARTners presents unique and quality arts experiences in the form of artist residencies to schools and non-profit services agencies.

PCA is a state agency with the mission to foster the excellence, diversity and vitality of the arts in Pennsylvania and to broaden the availability and appreciation of those arts throughout the state.