The Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts has a mission to preserve, promote and provide a learning experience that has its roots in the culture and heritage of our Southern Appalachian Mountains. The Henderson works with students as a part of our Appalachian Youth Programs, which include Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM), Junior Appalachian Artisans (JAAr), Summer Art Camps and Outreach activities.
Americans for the Arts began a collaborative research effort on arts programming for youth during their impressionable years. This consortium, known as the YouthARTS Development Project maintains that art opens the door to self-reflection and self-expression. Craft (handiwork) provides the literal/material means for one of the most important tasks our youth face: to pose and wrestle with questions about the very direction of their lives.
The Henderson received an Artist in Education Grant through the Virginia Commission for the Arts to offer an after school arts/craft based program that partners with Artisan Mentors of Holston Mountain Artisans (HMA) for middle school students of Smyth County. HMA has an artisan community wishing to pass on traditions. The Henderson has groups of students in need of artisan mentors/instructors. A perfect partnership is born, JAAr.
Junior Appalachian Artisans (JAAr) is an after school program for Smyth County middle school students. JAAr seeks to preserve our unique folk art mountain heritage through activities through the guided work of artisan mentors. This program will allow students access to working craftsmen and artisans who gather at The Henderson as well as introduce them to specific tools, materials, and studio space.
Junior Appalachian Artisans is supported in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, Friends of Mount Rogers, Holston Mountain Artisans, Town of Marion and The Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts.