By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: April 2012
Students of last year’s M.A.D.D. Camp at the International Gospel Center.
Studies have shown that an education in the arts is beneficial to a child’s growth and development in other seemingly unrelated areas, such as mathematics and reading. In fact, a major study that was conducted in July, 2002 concluded that children who receive training in music, drama and dance actually do better in these basic disciplines than those who are not exposed to the arts.
The research was coordinated by James Catterall, University of California-Los Angeles education professor, who stated in an interview with USA Today, “Notions that the arts are frivolous add-ons to a serious curriculum couldn’t be further from the truth…The arts warrant a place in the curriculum because of their intimate ties to most everything we want for our children and schools.”
Despite the findings of this study, which took two years to complete and was funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts, the performing arts are still often regarded as “frivolous” and are the first to suffer when there are budget cuts in the school system. That is why the International Gospel Center in Tulsa is pleased to present its annual M.A.D.D. (Music, Art, Dance and Drama) Camp. This free, week-long camp exposes children to a variety of arts, including piano, bell ringing, cultural dance, dramatic interpretation, videography, acting, music theory, and vocal conditioning.
“We are anticipating even greater enrollment this year,” says Pastor Chyanna Mull-Anthony, who reports that the camp usually hosts around 100 students. “There have been so many budget cuts in the Tulsa Public Schools arts programs, and parents tell us that they must pay personally for students to learn an instrument or be involved in choir.” With regret, Dr. Mull-Anthony also points out that nearby McClure Park, formerly the area’s community recreation center, no longer offers children’s programs. “Along with that goes affordable youth summer programs that benefit the children in our community,” she says. “Hence, our desire is to expand our program, so that it can continue beyond the one summer week and extend into the school year.”
Dr. Mull-Anthony founded this program 12 years ago. She already had a vision for what the performing and creative arts could do in the lives of children. Over the years, the program has drawn volunteers who share Dr. Mull-Anthony’s vision, such as Director Reverend Andrea Whyte, Oral Roberts University graduate and award-winning arts teacher from Jamaica, among other Tulsa-based instructors. The camp also partners with Tulsa’s Excell Music, Oral Roberts University, and New Life Drama Company from Cleveland, Tennessee.
This year’s camp is June 11-15 and, as always, will be followed with a recital in the auditorium of the International Gospel Center at 555 S. Memorial in Tulsa. “It is here that the family and well-wishers are amazed to see what can be accomplished in just a week,” says Dr. Mull-Anthony. “As the pastor of International Gospel Center and founder of this program, I am always excited to see the faces of the children when they discover talent they didn’t know they had before.”
To find out more about the camp or how you can help further the vision of expanding young minds through artistic endeavor, call the International Gospel Center at (918) 836-5525.