African American art, music and culture will come alive on the campus of West Virginia University June 24-29 when the University sponsors the first African American Arts and Heritage Academy for public school children ages 13-18.

“The academy focuses on strengthening studentsartistic talents and increasing their knowledge of African American culture,”said Katherine Bankole, director of the WVU Center for Black Culture and Research.”We hope the program will be educational and fun and, hopefully, interest young students in pursuing a higher education as well.”

The one-week program features workshops and field trips for approximately 40 participants who were selected on the basis of academic merit, Dr. Bankole said. Students attend workshops based on their personal interests as well as teacher referrals.

Offerings include African American history, cultural studies, literature, creative writing, dance, museum studies, technology, vocal and instrumental music, theater arts and visual arts.

Cost of the academy is $85 and includes room, board, classes, workshops, special programs and field trips, including visits to the Jazz Hall of Fame in Pittsburgh, Morgantowns John Henry Center for History and Culture Exchange, and other cultural experiences.

A trip to Pittsburghs Kennywood Amusement Park also is planned just for fun, Bankole added.

Jacqueline Dooley, senior program coordinator for the WVU Presidents Office for Social Justice, is sending her 13-year-old daughter Frederica, a Suncrest Middle School student, to the academy.

“Shes going for the enrichment through music and self-expression and to get a better understanding of black culture,”Dooley said.”It will be a great educational and social opportunity and, hopefully, a lot of fun too.”

For more information, call the Center for Black Culture and Research, 304-293-7029.