Nurturing creativity in young artists is the aim behind a series of art classes offered at Waggoner Road Junior High through the Granville Studio of Visual Arts.

Nurturing creativity in young artists is the aim behind a series of art classes offered at Waggoner Road Junior High through the Granville Studio of Visual Arts.

The series of 10-week art classes -- called Reynoldsburg Teen Journey -- once again is available to junior high school students, thanks in part to a $2,000 Arts and Culture in Schools grant awarded by Target and a partnership with the Granville Studio of Visual Arts, said Tricia Moore, district director of shared services and partnerships.

The first 10-week class, called the Art of the Self-Portrait, costs $150 for students, but the Target grant will help provide some scholarship money, Moore said.

She said the school's PTO helped launch the Journey program last year by providing start-up and supply costs.

Granville Studio of Visual Arts Director Jennifer Pentecost said she and Paul Hamilton teach the after-school art classes.

"I love the excitement that the freedom of creativity and bringing creative visions to life bring to students," she said. "Most of these students have little to zero art experience or background.

"When I have the opportunity to implement this curriculum, I know it will already be successful and I look forward to seeing these successes unveil themselves as the weeks go by."

She said the program is not about each student becoming an artist.

"These programs are about creative thinking and fostering creative courage in all students," she said. "It's about listening to their ideas and letting them share their opinions. It's about embracing who you are, celebrating who you are, being happy, teamwork and having fun."

Pentecost said the culmination of each 10-week program is for students to design, install, curate and host an exhibition of their own work.

The second and third parts of the Teen Journey program are DreamWorlds and the Ripple Effect.

"Each 10-week series is a theme-based approach to building knowledge about and through the arts in a studio environment," she said. "The program was designed with the flexibility to be customized for after-school settings."

Pentecost said Granville's partnership with Reynoldsburg schools began in 2010.

"We have a friendly relationship with Battelle and they recommended that we reach out during the building of the new high schools," she said. "We volunteered to be the creative education consultant during this time and became part of the collaborative design team in the design of eSTEM Academy."

Since then, studio teachers have become artists-in-residence at Encore Academy.

"We helped build a satellite gallery in the lobby at Encore, where there are current art shows," Pentecost said.

She said the partnership grew last year to include Waggoner Road Junior High, where the studio offers both in-school and after-school classes.

Pentecost said artwork by 33 students will be featured in an exhibition from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Waggoner Road Junior High, 360 S. Waggoner Road.

She said the programs are offered with support from the Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and private donors, as well as support through the Waggoner Road PTO for cutting the costs of the after-school programming.