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Art Works

Summer 2002

Radio series offers
intimate visits with writers

Program highlights

Mentor shares art and life

The creative mentor

The Griffin & the Minor Canon

Interview with David Selby

What is W;t about?

Quality arts education?

How can I help students in my
community get a quality arts

WV songwriters on new CD

Quilting the Sun: Journey of
a Play

Dance from your heart

New festival celebrates

How can I help students in my community get a quality arts education?

Start by looking for information. Local schools systems are faced with the task of making arts education policies and requirements work in local schools. County level administrators and principals decide who will teach the arts, how much time will be spent on the arts and what kinds of resources will be devoted to the arts. The only way to find out what is happening in your community is to ask. What questions should you ask?

• Are all students receiving arts instruction according to state standards?
• How often do does my child receive arts instruction?
• Is a specialist teaching my child?
• How are my child’s skills being assessed in these subjects?
• Do teachers have resources such as current textbooks, visual arts supplies, computers, CDs and an adequate stereo system?
• Are arts educators and general classroom teachers receiving professional development in the arts?
• Are artist-in-residence programs planned for the next school year?
• Does the local high school offer instruction in dance and theater in addition to music and visual art?
• Are students, including high-achieving students, encouraged to take arts classes at the secondary level?

Identify potential partners who can help you support arts education in your community. The key to improving arts education is building a base of support in your community. Find people who care about supporting arts education and share information with them. Where do you find these people?

• Talk to groups such as the PTA, PTO, churches, civic organizations or the local school improvement council.
• Talk to artists, teachers, students, local arts organizations and people who work in arts-related businesses.
• Talk to people who organize civic events such as fairs, festivals and benefits. They usually have contacts in the arts community.
• Talk to school administrators, business leaders, elected officials and members of the media.
• Seek out local artists, arts councils or arts organizations. No only might they be interested in joining an arts education support group, but they also have access to arts education resources.

Form a group to support arts education in your local schools. A group can set goals, assign tasks and support one another in the effort to improve arts education in your area. What can this group do?

• Make connections with and provide information to school administrators who are responsible for arts education.
• Coordinate with the local media in a community-wide campaign to promote arts education.
• Engage in fundraising activities and plan for specific arts programs and demonstration projects.
• Coordinate professional development opportunities for teachers in the arts.
• Arrange for speakers to present information about arts education for boards of education and civic organizations.
• Write letters in support of arts education to elected officials.
• Monitor board of education policies and actions related to arts education.
• Request that county school budget reductions be spread equally across the curriculum and not be placed solely in the area of arts education.

The most critical factor in sustaining arts education in schools is the active involvement of influential segments of the community. Together, parents, teachers, artists and community leaders can ensure that all West Virginia children receive a quality arts education. Take action so the children in your community will “know quality when they see it.”