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Journal photo by Maryann Mook

Creativity for You, or C4U, is a committee under the umbrella of the Corry Area Arts Council Inc., whose members are working to provide fun, cultural activities for the youth of the Corry area. Creativity for Youth held its first fundraiser Wednesday at Corry City Park. Members of C4U are, from left, Zack Puckly, Joe Puckly, Phil Drake and Jim Mehs, president of the Corry Area Arts Council. Missing from photo is Kaylene Beck.

Creativity sparks youth involvement in arts

By Maryann Mook


Phil Drake, a 2012 graduate of Corry area High School, has an interest in cultural arts. He plans to attend Jamestown Community College in the fall to earn an associate degree in fine arts music.
In the meantime, Drake is turning his attention to the cultural arts - or lack thereof - for the youth in the Corry community.
Drake recently contacted Mike Largarticha after being given Largarticha's business card. Largarticha, the president of the Corry Community Development Corp., and Drake met in person to discuss the need for cultural arts for youth.
"Mr. Largarticha said he wants to get a program going for the youth of Corry and the surrounding area," Drake said. "We agreed that there should be a group started, and there needs to be a catchy name."
The name they came up with is Creativity for You, or C4U.
Creativity for You is a committee of the Corry Area Arts Council Inc. Council President Jim Mehs is ecstatic that the youth of the community are becoming involved in the arts.
"This all stems from Corry's Vision 2020," Mehs said about Corry's strategic plan. "That was one of the items that had a high priority - find things for youth to do."
Drake said the plan is to have a group composed of youth and run by youth.
"It's 'By the youth, for the youth,'" Drake said. "Basically, that means we raise money or learn how to write grants, we can have the ability to do some fun things or add to the arts and make Corry a better place with interesting things for youth to do.
But even before the group had its name, Drake contacted a friend, Kaylene Beck, and asked her to come on board.
Beck said Creativity for You was a thought that needed to be put into action.
"I want to see more things in Corry for kids and young adults to enjoy," Beck said. "It's important because it lets us youth speak for ourselves."
The Corry Arts Council board of directors in June approved Creativity for Youth as an ad hoc committee.
In the meantime, Joe Puckly and his brother, Zack, both home-schooled students, have joined Creativity for Youth.
Zack, 16, and Joe, 15, are the sons of Lisa Puckly and Rodney Puckly. They are already involved in the Corry community as volunteers with the Corry Area Historical Society and are involved with Missoula Children's Theatre.
Zack said because he hasn't been involved with Creativity for Youth very long, he wants to give it a try before making a full commitment.
But he likes the concept of the group.
"I think it's important to socialize and help provide fun activities for the youth," Zack said.
Joe Puckly said he heard about Creativity for Youth from Beck, whom he met through Missoula Children's Theatre.
"The reason I wanted to get involved with Creativity for You is because I think Corry may be lacking in things for youth to do," Joe said.
The group, under the direction of Mehs, held its first fundraiser by selling refreshments at Wednesday's performance of "The Merchant of Venice" in Corry.
The group is also passing out surveys to get a feel for what people know about the Corry Area Arts Council.
"C4U is doing a survey, asking people if they're aware of the Corry Area Arts Council and what (arts council) events they attend," Mehs said. "They have been passing out the surveys at Corry Area Arts Council events."
Drake said Creativity for Youth is conducting a survey aimed at youth.
"Its purpose is to let the youth know what's going on and if they would like to help or participate in a cultural event," Drake said.
Beck, 17, also is home-schooled. She is the daughter of Kathy and William Beck. She said she wants to see Creativity for Youth catch on.
"If we can get others involved that want the same goals we do, I can see this group bringing in lots of opportunities for youth and the arts," Beck said. "That is what I would like to see happen."
Zack and Joe Puckly also do videography, and Mehs is hoping their talent in that field will help the arts council.
"I'm hoping they could make a documentary about the arts council and the youth," Mehs said.
In addition to Creativity for You, the Corry Area Arts Council Auxiliary, the Corry Community Theatre and the Corry Artists' Guild fall under the umbrella of the Corry Area Arts Council.
Creativity for Youth is hoping to conduct more fundraisers. Their plan is to sell refreshments and conduct a dime pitch at Sunday in the Park, which takes place Aug. 5 in Corry City Park.
To become a member of Creativity for You, all you have to do is fall within the age limit - 10 up to mid-40s.
Mehs said the average age of members of the Corry Area Arts Council are of retirement age, and fresh blood is needed.
Drake, the son of Steve and Kristen Drake, also has theater experience he can bring to Creativity for Youth and the Corry Area Arts Council. He has passed an audition for general ensemble to perform in a production of "The Sound of Music" at the Erie Playhouse in December. He hopes to land the part of Rolf.
"That's the character I played in the Corry Area High School's musical in 2011," said Drake, who also appeared in the high school's production of "Beauty and the Beast" this past spring.
Mehs said that young people becomeing involved in the Corry Area Arts Council is crucial to the council's future.
"With the involvement of young people like Phil, Kaylene, Zack and Joe and others who join them, we will be assured that the Corry Area Arts Council will remain a viable entity as we move forward into the 21st century, " Mehs said.

Is C4U for you?

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about Creativity for You is asked to call Jim Mehs, president of the Corry Area Arts Council, at 664-3626. Mehs will put you in touch with one of the C4U members. Kaylene Beck has created a Facebook page at Facebook.com/C4U.

Note: Article and picture are included here with the permission of the author and the Corry Journal.


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