ROCK HILL — For many students in the area surrounding Winthrop University, studying the arts has become more than just an activity in their free time.
Since its inception in 1989, Winthrop has hosted more than 9,000 students for the annual ST-ARTS (Students with Special Talents in the Arts) program. This program connects middle school-aged students with more than 50 talented artists and musicians and allows them to intensively study a specific arts area. Arts areas include music, dance, drama and visual arts.
To participate in the program, students from Clover, Fort Mill, Lancaster, Rock Hill and York public schools in grades 6-8 apply and audition for the program. Nearly 300 students attend three weeks of music, dance, drama, design and photography classes on Winthrop’s campus each summer. Most importantly, the program is completely free to students.
For many, the impact of the program is much longer than just a summer. Some ST-ARTS students have gone on to attend Winthrop University after high school graduation. Hannah Hustad, a rising senior at Winthrop, attended the program for three years. Last year, she starred as Elle Woods in the Department of Theatre’s production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”
“I’m proud to be a student at a school that hosts such a beneficial event,” Hustad said. “I don’t think I realized how important of an opportunity it was when I was younger. You grow so much as an artist and as a human being.”
After participating in the ST-ARTS program, many students continue to be involved as a volunteer. Im Chan ‘02 saw the benefits of the program and served as a volunteer after attending the program as a student. Chan now works as an art conservator in Washington, D.C.
“ST-ARTS was the first time I thought about art in a real way that could be studied and practiced,” Chan said. “I loved being able to work in real art studios at a university, which made it feel like so much more than just a hobby.”
This year marks the 28th ST-ARTS program and runs from June 6-24. For more information on the ST-ARTS program, contact Dr. Donald Rogers, Department of Music chair at 803/323-2255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story courtesy of Winthrop University.