Arts teachers receive mini-grants in the classroom – The Stanly News & Press
Since 2014, the Stanly County Arts Council has recognized both an Artist of the Year and a Fine Arts Educator of the Year.
For 2021, the board of directors of the Stanly County Arts Council has decided to suspend these traditional awards for one year.
“We felt that during one of the most difficult years ever, especially for the arts, the recognition of a single person or a single teacher was not enough for what was going on behind the scenes to keep the arts alive for our community and our students, ”said Bradley Eudy, chair of the Stanly County Arts Council.
The Fine Arts Educator of the Year award is known as the “Jim Kennedy” Award in memory of longtime arts advocate, teacher and trainer James D. Kennedy. This award recognizes a fine arts teacher in the Stanly County Public School System who has had a significant positive impact on the arts in education and has inspired students to pursue, appreciate and respect the fine arts.
During the 2020-2021 school year, all arts teachers, at all levels, did so on a daily basis. With financial support from Uwharrie Bank and a community grant from the Rotary Club of Albemarle, all fine arts educators were honored at a recent school board meeting by receiving a mini grant of $ 100 each for their arts class.
“Classroom scholarships will allow arts educators to prepare for the upcoming school year, but most importantly, to show that they are appreciated for their commitment this year,” added Renee VanHorn, Executive Director of Stanly County Arts Council .
“The motto of Rotary is service before you,” said Todd Swaringen, president of the Rotary Club of Albemarle Community Grant. “Our Albemarle Rotary Club truly strives to lead by example by raising funds each year to support community organizations through grants and high school graduates.
thanks to our scholarships. We are proud to award the Stanly County Arts Council a community grant for 2021. Our educators shine a light on the potential of students every day and open a world of opportunity for their future success. We hope this community grant will help art teachers in this endeavor.
According to Lori Watson, music teacher at Oakboro Stem and Stanfield Elementary, “The fact that the art and music teachers came into the classroom was the bright spot of the students’ day. It became the time for them to express themselves and have a much needed change of pace from a day of being at their desks in the same room all day.
At the college level, arts educators have abandoned their physical classrooms to fifth-graders, which is necessary to meet social distancing guidelines. In addition to losing their classrooms, the exploratory team, which included visual arts and music / orchestral teachers, were also responsible for conducting health exams / temperature checks for all students and delivering lunches each. day.
They taught their arts classes in a completely virtual way. Distance learning is difficult for everyone, but particularly difficult for arts educators. Imagine the difficulty of teaching a new instrument or teaching a clay lesson in a virtual format. They did an amazing job keeping students engaged, creating supply kits to ensure exposure to all visual arts as if they were in class, and using apps to help students learn their instruments and sing together from a distance.
Rebekah Crisco, visual arts teacher at North Stanly Middle School, commented, “Some students have struggled to be successful in the virtual learning environment. It was the hardest thing to come to terms with this year. I can’t wait to get them back on track next year. At the same time, incredible work was created and I was able to fill my windows with beautiful painted canvases more than once. Our virtual art gallery was even featured on the North Carolina Department of Education website. “
At the high school level, the student body was split between Group A and Group B, providing a different challenge. At the same time, these educators created virtual concerts and theatrical productions; and this spring they were able to bring the live theater back to the stage while adhering to Covid protocols.
“This year has definitely given birth to a lot of creativity,” said Laura Snider, group principal at Albemarle High School. “There are challenges that we will continue to face as we navigate both online and in-person education. Much of the year we focused on music appreciation, theory, instrument / voice health, and history.
Snider is in the process of rebuilding the marching band / marching band program at Albemarle High School. She has a link to an interest form on the school’s website for all students who are considering an orchestra or marching band in the fall.
Research shows that arts education is critical to overall student success. According to research compiled by Americans for the Arts, students who have access to arts education generally stay in school and experience greater success in school, in life, and in work.
The Fine Arts Educator of the Year 2021 mini-grants will help arts educators restart their programs in the fall and transform students’ lives.
The Stanly County Arts Council was founded in 1974. It continues to promote and support all art forms in the community. Its mission is to encourage and promote large-scale cultural and educational activities in the arts throughout Stanly County. The Stanly County Arts Council is supported by private donations and by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.