Each Maine summer brings a wealth of engaging opportunities and this year is no different. For local youth looking for ways to put a creative spin on their summer vacation, RSU 13 is offering Arts in Action in collaboration with Youthlinks and the Rockland Rec Center. Arts in Action is an extension of the existing Rockland After-School Alliance program and is the brainchild of Alexis Iammarino, a RASA arts instructor.

Arts in Action creates art opportunities wherein students can affect change in their local community through beautification, education and art. This summer, program participants will design, sketch and paint an enormous mural at the Rockland Rec Center. Their art will be on display for all community members to enjoy.

Last fall, Rockland District Middle School children participated in the first session of RASA’s Arts in Action and created colorful and environmentally-minded graphic panels for display at Hope Elephants. The students’ work enabled them to learn about an African elephant’s natural, wild habitat as they created vibrant panels to adorn the Hope Elephants enclosure. Students learned to intensely collaborate on the drawing and painting of the murals and took a trip to see the unveiling of their art at Hope Elephants. In addition, students are currently installing a mural at the Rockland District Middle School to address the school’s anti-bullying campaign.

RASA’s Arts in Action summer project will be offered Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon for five weeks throughout July and August at the Rockland Rec Center. A healthy snack will be available for participants and the program is free, thanks to a grant secured by RSU 13 Adult & Community Education and the generous support of our agency partners. RASA program instructors Iammarino and Sarah Rogers will lead the project.

“It is inspiring to see so many community organizations come together in support of art opportunities for area youth. This is a fantastic twist on our ever-popular RASA program and enables students of all ages to participate,” said Shannon M. Parker, director of RSU 13 Adult and Community Education.

Enrollment for the summer program will begin Monday, May 19, and will coincide with registration for Youthlinks summer programs. For more information on Arts in Action, call 975-5495 or email rasaartsinaction@gmail.com.

Arts in Action will continue into the 2014-2015 school year to offer students the chance to work with their school, local organizations and city departments to create public and mural art projects.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.