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Hello CCLL!

This year, the Arcata Arts Institute joined a new program known as the Creative Careers Leadership Lab (CCLL), an organization aimed at helping art students gain skills to succeed in future careers in the arts.  
Twilight Sherman
The CCLL Leadership team (top row, left to right: Erika Homan, Carolyn van Mantgem, Melanie Zapper, Taylor Nada, Tim Clewell. bottom row, left to right: Johanna Mauro, Fionn Conroy, Kayla Gaskill)

This year, the Arcata Arts Institute joined a new program known as the Creative Careers Leadership Lab (CCLL), an organization aimed at helping art students gain skills to succeed in future careers in the arts.  

All Career Technical Education (CTE) programs require students to be part of a student leadership organization. The most commonly known is FFA, or Future Farmers of America. In the past, CTE programs focused on the arts have not been a great fit for other existing organizations, according to Johanna Mauro, director of the Arcata Arts Institute. So the CCLL was formed to help fill that gap. 

“The primary goal of the CCLL is to equip high school students with the creative skills and leadership abilities essential for excelling in the arts, media, and entertainment industries [by] emphasizing work-based learning, leadership development, and immersive hands-on experience,” director of the CCLL, Loree Goffigon, said. 

More specifically, it will give students the opportunity to participate in creative challenges that help them get recognition and can be used on resumes in the future. 

Many teachers have positive reviews about this program so far because the projects line up so well with the pre-existing CTE academic curriculum. 

For example, Melanie Zapper, the Theater and Performing Arts teacher at Arcata High said, “We [the theater class] were already going to film a monologue for our portfolio, so we are utilizing the same process that we are already learning in class to film our monologues for the CCLL.” She added that student technicians will be using work from shows they have done through AAI this year. 

Tim Clewell, the visual arts teacher, also shared about the project going on in his class. “[Stickers] are really good at proliferating a message of social, political, or environmental issues. So we are asking students ultimately to communicate a stance that they already have and create a design based around that.” He concludes by stating that he feels this program will help students to use their voices to communicate a social message in the form of art.

Students wanting to be a part of this program must be enrolled in a CTE fine arts program. Examples of these include photography, art, or any of the Arcata Arts Institute classes. 

While the CCLL is still in its pilot program stage, one of the main values is listening to student voices and input. 

“We want to ensure that the design of the programs and events are relevant and engaging to students, therefore, having students involved in its leadership is essential to success and sustainability,” Loree Goffigon said. 

This program helps connect art students to adults already in the industry. “They are the people that are assessing the validity of it, which makes it more real than a teacher assigning an assignment and having [students] do it,” Zapper said. 

Furthermore, it can be difficult for students in rural areas, such as Humboldt County, to get access to opportunities and connections like this in the professional world of art. The CCLL makes an effort to achieve inclusiveness for all students. 

“Given that the CCLL is a statewide organization and leadership is based in Los Angeles, we wanted to equip and empower students throughout the state to be ambassadors of the program and provide leadership at their schools to help us spread the word and get students involved,” Goffigon said.

Officers of the Arcata Arts Institute Ambassadors have taken on the CCLL leadership role at Arcata High School, one of whom is sophomore Fionn Conroy. Fionn is very excited to be taking on a leadership position for this program and hopes she can help make a change in the world of arts education. 

“Arts in school tend to get degraded a bit, more than things like math and English because it’s just viewed as less important,” Fionn Conroy said. The implementation of the CCLL into the learning experience of students at this school will not only help them hone and practice their skills, but also promote the arts in education. 

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About the Contributor
Taylor Nada, Web Editor
Taylor Nada is new to journalism but is excited to find her niche and share her passions with the community through writing. She has several main focuses, including advocacy in the arts, community outreach, and representation of smaller clubs and groups on campus. While she is new to reporting, Taylor has been a very active community member for a long time and is involved with countless clubs and programs at Arcata High School, as well as in the broader Humboldt County community. To learn more about Taylor and stay up to date with her latest endeavors, check out her socials!
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