Exploring Art Inspires Students at Open Doors Academy

Around lunchtime on a Monday morning in early June at Open Doors Academy’s office on Perkins Avenue near East 30th in Cleveland, staff members were surprised to notice that the internet had stopped working. But once they learned the reason, their surprise turned to excitement.

"This is the best thing I’ve ever drawn! I didn’t know I could do something like this!" were the comments from the excited students in the office’s conference room who, on the first day of their summer camp program, were tying up the office’s internet bandwidth proudly emailing their newly completed artwork to their families.

During Open Doors Academy’s week-long "Art on an iPad – Drawing Faces, Places & Tigers" program, local middle-school students learned from David Rankin how to create artwork, express ideas and communicate their own artistic creations using an iPad, and also took a field trip to the Zoo to observe and draw the animals.
Open Doors Academy

By the end of the summer, more than 200 middle-school students from five different schools in Cleveland, Euclid and Cleveland Heights will participate in week-long summer camps being offered by Open Doors Academy. Students will explore topics such as photography, fashion design, storytelling, robotics and pottery.

Open Doors Academy
Each program is led by artists and professionals who challenge and inspire students to stretch their imagination and skills, and programs include visits to locations such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, as well as local artists’ studios, and is aimed toward students living in high-risk environments.

"Initially when asked about a painting, sculpture or drawing, students looked down, or said 'I don’t know,'" says Deanna Rankin, of Open Doors Academy. After the camp experience, students with little or no experience or interaction with art became comfortable. Programs like "Art on an iPad" help the students to intently capture the likeness of what they see, translating that to an artistic drawing experience that they’re excited to share.

In all, Open Doors Academy is offering more than 20 Summer Camp programs this summer in their core areas of arts and culture, health and wellness, global social education and character building. Students can learn and explore with week-long camps exploring topics such as Baking Around the World, Hip Hop, Inner Athlete: Making it Real, Culinary Arts, Digital Fashion Design, Horseback Riding, Visual & Performing Arts, LEGO Robotics and Shark Tank.

Rankin says that funding from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture helps make Open Doors Academy’s summer camp programs possible. "The funding we receive from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture helps us help youth gain confidence, discover new talents and showcase their creative expression and imagination. They learn that 'thinking outside the box' has real-life value. It opens the door and lets them explore possibilities for the future."
Open Doors Academy

See the culmination of the students’ camp experiences at Open Doors Academy’s 4th Annual Arts Showcase on Thursday, August 8 from 5 to 8 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland, 3630 Fairmount Blvd, Cleveland 44118. For more information, call 216-229-1900 or visit opendoorsacademy.org.

Learn more about Open Doors Academy's work in the community. Watch this video.