NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University and Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) hosted an art expo for high school students engaged in the Louisiana GEAR UP program. About 100 students form Negreet, Red River, Florien, Converse, Many and Pleasant Hill high schools met students and faculty from NSU’s Department of Fine and Graphic Art and participated in hands-on workshops in felting, printmaking, sandcasting and photogramming.
“Our goal for the inaugural NSU Art Expo was to expose the students to academic and career opportunities involving fine and graphic art,” said Steve Gruesbeck, program coordinator. “NSU art faculty and students teamed up to create workshops that simulate a typical day in the life of an NSU art student.”
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a federally funded national initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education which gives grants to states or institutions of higher learning to create partnerships with high-poverty middle or high schools. LOSFA partners with 16 school districts with the aim of increasing the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.
During the NSU Art Expo, students saw current art exhibitions, ate lunch with NSU faculty and students and completed art projects to take home. The Art Expo was part of a series of events planned for GEAR UP participating high schools. A Nursing and Allied Health Fair is planned for April, following last fall’s leadership symposium and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) Fair.
“The Connect2Success NSU/GEAR-Up project is multidisciplinary in scope,” Gruesbeck said. “Programming involves all four colleges of the university with the unified goal of increasing college access and success. The year-round, experiential learning activities and events are the next step following a series of highly successful summer programs involving NSU and Louisiana GEAR UP.”
Northwestern State University Professor of Art Leslie Gruesbeck led a felting workshop for Pleasant Hill High School students Alex Calhoun, Micah Armstrong, Madison Withers, Celeste Waddle and Austin Henderson during the LA GEAR UP Art Expo at NSU. About 100 high school students toured NSU’s Department of Fine and Graphic Art, met with faculty and completed art projects to take home.