Chickasaw students express themselves at summer arts academy

By: Ashley Park Email
By: Ashley Park Email

ADA, OK -- Painting, visual arts, acting, and dancing are some of the topics being taught at the Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy.

But fine arts director, Laura Stewart, says the academy offers more than just new skills and techniques.

"The arts also help to create in t he students' mind, and to be able to develop and to be able to use that creativity," said Stewart.

Stewart says the 2 week intensive academy gives more than 100 students the chance to express themselves in ways they never would have thought possible.

"If they're given an opportunity to find out about their passions in the arts and able to express their voice, it's an amazing thing," Stewart said. "A lot of area schools art classes get pulled left and right and so this is an opportunity for the students."

17-year-old, Erica Herman, has attended the academy for 5 years, and says working with others has helped inspire her.

"With other people's creativity, your own creativity comes out and it teaches you to reach more outside the box than you would have by yourself," said Herman.

18-year-old, Kyla Aguirre, says the academy has taught her more about her heritage.

"If you're Chickasaw, it helps you to learn about your culture which before this," said Aguirre. "I really didn't know anything about the chickasaws...and it helps other people learn about us."

Stewart says she hopes students will leave feeling more empowered.

"They do have an important voice, and that the voice can be heard through a painting, through their music, through a song. I hope they feel that their voice is important," said Stewart.

The academy is open to Chickasaw students age 8 to 19 and it's also open to nontribal members, if space permits.

For more information on how to apply for next year's camp, you can find go to the Chickasaw Nation website --

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