Cumberland Times-News

May 13, 2013

Arts in the Schools Week Week-long program encourages young students to be creative

Scott Proietti
Cumberland Times-News

— LONACONING — The first day of the Arts in the Schools Week program at George’s Creek Elementary School was a success.

The kids in Janice Raines’ fourth-grade class and Todd Snyder’s fifth-grade class seemed to really enjoy the program Monday morning. The kids actively participated, asked questions and seemed enthused to be able to do “nontypical” school activities.

Graduate students Hannah Hare, Tori Insley, Aisling Beecher and Sarah Fuller of the Frostburg State University Children’s Literature Centre worked with the fourth-graders on an activity in which the students were asked to draw four things that represent themselves on paper after they read a story. The organization’s motto is: “Build a passion for lifelong reading.”

Throughout the current school week, the Allegany Arts Council, Maryland State Arts Council and the Allegany County Board of Education will present the annual Arts in the Schools Week program. This year the program will be visiting Westernport and George’s Creek Elementary schools.

Local artists, musicians, actors, dancers and writers will interact with students during the week and engage them with a true arts experience. Various performances, hands-on workshops, storytelling and print-making will be conducted throughout the week to encourage the young students to be creative and express themselves through different forms of art.

By using local presenters, the program is able to support the area’s artists and ensure that the majority of expended program funds stay in the local community, the Allegany Arts Council said. This also helps to build connections between the local artists and the public school system.

The theme for this year’s Arts in the Schools Week is “The Wide, Wide World of Arts!” Events will be held at the two schools each morning and afternoon.

Andy Vick, executive director of the Allegany Arts Council, said the program is beneficial to the students because it exposes them to something new, and by having the opportunity to see different forms of art they can gain new interests, which can be a catalyst to pursuing something in the field further down the road.

The Allegany County Arts Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to expand the use of art and enrich the quality of life within the community.

The Arts Council and Board of Education have successfully collaborated to produce the program in two different Allegany County schools each spring since 2002. The cost to produce the annual program is approximately $11,000.

The budget for the program consists of $6,500 in funding from the school board, a $2,000 grant from the Maryland Arts Council Community Arts in Education and $2,500 in support from various local foundations.