The mission of the East Side Arts Council is to collaborate with our community and artists to celebrate and experience the arts.
At ESAC, youth programming is a main focus. We serve inner city youth attending East Side schools, most with over 80% of the student population on the Free and Reduced lunch program. Our out of school day camps act as an equalizer for our youth, who would not normally get to experience quality art programming. The field trips we take also allow students to have the experience of going to see a play, visiting a museum or walking around an out door sculpture park. These experiences, that children in more affluent neighborhoods have the privilege of going to with their families or with their more aptly funded and parent supported schools, are ones that our youth might never experience otherwise.
This past October, we took our Kidventure program, which is a FREE no-school-day and summer camp for East Side youth, to the Children's Theater in St. Paul, to see "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins." The play was a huge hit not only with the youth, but with the staff as well. During the production, one of the students asked a chaperone, "What kind of movie is this?" Which really struck us as a huge indicator that our youth, many of who are the ones who need art the most as a means to express creativity, are being deprived of arts experiences. Theater, visual arts, dance, music and even cooking are classes we offer our students in hopes it will enrich their lives in some small way, even if just in the moment. By bringing them to places outside of their own neighborhoods, we hope to expand their horizons and show them that there is a whole big world out there outside of their own backyards.