ArtForce: Visual Arts

Summer Apprenticeship 

Ivy Tech Community College 

June 11-June 29, 2018

"ArtForce is one of the highlights of the year for me. I love the energy and vibe the high school students bring to the college and the camp" ~Stephanie Robertson on the ArtForce Program

Program Summary

ArtForce: Visual Arts 2018 provided twelve high school students from the Indianapolis area with the unique opportunity to explore and learn within the visual arts. Over the three week program, the apprentices were exposed to various forms of art such as drawing, fabric dying, and printmaking. The students  participated in different workshops led by visiting artists that not only strengthened their artistic ability, but also developed their interest in bringing awareness to environmental justice. Art work that was created during the program would contribute to their final portfolio and culminating art exhibition.


ArtForce: Visual Arts 2018 focused on unifying the apprentices through their various concerns for the environment. The lead instructor, Crystal Vicars-Pugh, challenged the students to think about how their class could make a positive change visually as they kept environmental issues such as invasive species, pollution, and drought in mind.


"This year's theme gives out a good message. It shows me that we should doing something to save our environment" -ArtForce 2018 Participant 

On the final day of the program, the participants were able to show off their artwork in a culminating art exhibit at Ivy Tech.  Since the exhibit was open to the public, the participants not only received support from their families, but also the Arts for Learning staff and the Ivy Tech community. The art created and showcased by the students sparked admiration, curiosity, and thought throughout the duration of the exhibit.


Upon completion of the Visual Arts program, the participants accumulated new pieces of artwork to add to their portfolios, improved their skills, and received an experience that aided in enhancing both their knowledge and their passion for the arts.

Our Partnerships 

The three week program was made possible by the partnership between Ivy Tech Community College and the Arts for Learning. Through their partnership, both college and organization, made it possible for the participants to receive a unique opportunity at not only growing within their passion, but also applying it in a college setting. The chance to work in a college setting will hopefully improve the transition from high school to college in the future.


The Creative & Learning Process

For each week of the Visual Arts program there was a significant theme. Week 1 for the program focused on exposing the participants to different art forms demonstrated by guest artists through workshops. Because of the exposure, the students were able to create new art pieces to include in their portfolio while having the opportunity to develop new art techniques and skills. During week 2, the students focused on present environmental issues that negatively impact our planet. Environmental justice was the program's theme this year and it encouraged the students to think deeply in regards to ways that we could push to become more environmentally friendly. Throughout the program, students were given the opportunity to visit the Interfaith Center's Sierra Club Exhibit, Zero Landfill Indy, and Newfields. The students also took an unexpected nature walk through Butler's beautiful Holcomb Gardens. At the different sites the students visited they were able to admire environmental art and discover in what ways an organization has dedicated itself to being more environmentally friendly. As week 3 came, the participants wrapped up on their projects and individual creations to present them at their culminating art exhibit. After 3 weeks of working hard on their creations, the students were ecstatic to show off their art work. 

The Creative Team

"Crystal as the instructor had a great rapport with the students. She has a young energy that jives with them, and she pushed them outside the comfort zone of just focusing on drawing or painting, to explore mixed media and meet other artists" ~Stephanie on Lead Instructor Crystal

Two major contributors to the success of ArtForce: Visual Arts were Crystal Vicars-Pugh and Stephanie Robertson. Both women were able to work together to bring the 2018 class out of their comfort zone to delve into the new art forms introduced to them. Vicars-Pugh and Robertson brought together different teaching artists to provide workshops, lectures and hands-on experiences for the participants. Vicars-Pugh instructed the apprentices in art forms like screen printing,  print making, and mixed media arts. The duo was also able to bring other local artists such as Bill Rasdell (Photography), Sarah Jane Mercado (Microfilm and Fiche) and chef Thom England.


The students were also encouraged and pushed towards success by their four college mentors, Alison Orihuela, Jordan Hillman, Mary Young, and Isaiah Morris-Henderson. Three out of the four college mentors happened to recent graduates of the program from the previous year. The three recent graduates easily transitioned from students to mentors.



ArtForce: Visual Arts 2018 was able to provide its participants with a sense of advocacy for the environment as they were challenged to use their passion for the arts and reflect it on ways to bring awareness to environmental issues. Crystal Vicars-Pugh and Stephanie Robertson were able to create a welcoming environment for the students to work comfortably in. Because the students spent three weeks together, they were able to develop a bond and a sense of community. Their tiny homes project challenged the students to work with only recycled materials to create an environmental friendly piece of artwork. Due to the students being limited to using recycled materials, they were able to think outside of the box and use unusual material to express their knowledge of the environment. 


ArtForce: Visual arts provided its participants with resources and opened doors to endless opportunities within their passion. The students were able to hone into their artistic abilities and put an exhibit together to display their artwork. The participants were also provided with the opportunity to work within a collegiate environment which encouraged them to pursue higher education and facilitated the transition from high school to college in the near future.

Written By:

Sandy Rivera

Summer Intern, 2018

Indiana-University Purdue University Indianapolis, Class of 2019

     B.S. Education