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Program allows high school students to earn college credit

POUGHKEEPSIE — Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 19, high school students in the Hudson Valley can earn college credit by taking classes with The Art Effect, thanks to its new partnership with Dutchess Community College (DCC). 

As the largest nonprofit arts organization in the mid-Hudson region, The Art Effect has been helping young people develop their creativity for over 40 years, educating more than 3,000 students each year. With the collaboration with DCC, it expects to reach even more students than it has in the past. 

Mary Ellen Iatropoulos, director of special projects for The Art Effect, said, “This partnership with Dutchess Community College is so exciting because it allows us to continue to bridge different gaps for establishing pathways and decreasing barriers for first-generation youths to attend college.” 

The Art Effect has dual-enrollment courses that students are able to choose from free of cost. The two classes that it offers at this time are the Visual Art Introductory Seminar (ART 100) and The Art and Craft of Video Editing (COM 103). 

ART 100 focuses on how to begin creating, preserving and documenting an art portfolio. This class will also give students one-on-one mentorship as well as assistance applying for internships, scholarships and different career opportunities. 

COM 103 teaches filmmaking and media arts to help build skills relevant to the film and television industry. Students will be learning how to use Premiere Pro and other software that can further educate them on video editing at a professional level. 

“Students have such a wide variety of needs... it’s not really a one size fits all kind of model, and the more variety of options and resources that we can provide, the more likely students will have a highly individualized and empowering experience, then the more likely they will be able to succeed,” said Iatropoulos. 

This partnership aims to create a bridge between high school and college for students in the Poughkeepsie area. Students will be able to get a look into college life while also starting their degrees early. 

“In general students that take these classes are more prepared to start their path towards higher education; when they graduate, they will already have some course requirements completed,” said Iatropoulos. 

The Art Effect also gives students hands-on experience that a typical classroom cannot offer. They work with professional artists and professors that work in the field, and can also work in a real studio. 

“In a normal classroom environment, the focus on academics tends to be directly between the student and the teacher, as it should be,” said Iatropoulos. “With these classes, we are going to be tying into different experiences beyond the classroom. In the ART 100 class, for example, it is going to include several trips off-site to different local colleges... so that students are getting experiences of college at a couple of universities.” 

The Art Effect’s mission has always been to help the community grow and flourish within the education system. Iatropoulos “never gets tired of reading their mission statement,” which it try to empower young students to be creative and shape the future, and to bring positive social change. 

“We want to help people be more successful,” said Iatropoulos.”We want to increase the number of young people in Poughkeepsie who see college as a viable option for them. We believe that higher education can be a pathway out of poverty for students.” 

Enrollment for ART 100 and COM 103 is open until Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. Registration is eligible for high-school-age youth, 14-19, who are also Dutchess County residents.w

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