The Arts in Education Program overseen by the Rural Alliance for the Arts brings professional artists into area schools and integrates the arts into the existing school curricula.
AIE Chairperson Jolene Rockwood explains, “Numerous studies have shown that a hands-on approach to education, where children are using all five of their senses in the learning process, develops analytical thinking skills, raises overall intelligence and facilitates a deeper learning experience that goes beyond the traditional ‘read the textbook and give a test’ approach in many educational settings.”
She notes that during the 2012-13 school year, “In addition to the RAA-financed programs, we partially supported several outstanding arts projects that were predominantly funded by other organizations. It is exciting to see that schools in the area are using seed money from RAA to seek additional funding sources and expand their arts in education programs.”
RAA sponsored three AIE projects over the past school year:
Visiting Artist Program
This program exposes over 2,800 schoolchildren at Batesville primary, intermediate, middle and high schools; Oldenburg Academy; and St. Louis School to a wide variety of arts disciplines by resident artists and visiting groups of artists. Each school receives between $2,000 and $7,000 worth of programming based on the student enrollment. The total expense to RAA was about $30,000.
At OA, the theme of an April Fine Arts Day was “Nature and the Fine Arts.” Workshops included woodcarving, flower arranging, making bug prints on styrofoam plates, mudcloth natural dying on T-shirts, designing mini-greenhouses and terrariums, nature in architecture, synesthesia (people who see colors when hearing music), making God’s eyes, nature in poetry, and positive and negative of leaf prints in designing. Cincinnati Ballet Co. dancers presented an assembly and workshops on dance and yoga and Pat Hicks gave a harp performance.
At SLS, students watched African acrobats and a “Macbeth” performance by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Co. for grades 4-8. Cincinnati Arts Association brought three performances: “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Stan Ginn, Anything Goes: Wild Science and Dance of India. Holly Combs presented a street art workshop and Lydia Woodward choreographed spring musical “Mulan.”
At BPS, Laura Ault taught Zumba during physical education classes and Don Edwards helped each second-grader make a pot. Elizabeth Miller’s second-grade students Skyped with a poet and younger students enjoyed a Dr. Seuss presentation on reading. The Cincinnati Arts Association presented “Magic Trash” and Cincinnati Children’s Theatre performed “Rumplestiltskin,” followed by classroom discussions and workshops. Rockwood called “Water Dance,” which incorporated dance into second- grade water cycle learning “a great interdisciplinary project.”
At BIS, Bonnie Stahlecker worked with students in grades 3-4 to incorporate handmade books with existing curricula, Hank Fincken performed a program on Christopher Columbus for fifth-graders and musician and dramatist Kevin Stonerock engaged fourth-graders with “Billy Yank – Common Soldier for the Union.”
At BMS, Lori Barr taught paper quilling with art teacher Grace Kontur and the Art Club for two weeks. Chaz Kaiser helped students make colonial lanterns out of stained glass, wood, and copper. Rockwood reports that music teacher Leon Enneking “continues to expand and improve the cutting edge world music program.” He received two John W. Hillenbrand Vision Fund for Quality Education grants to study with a master musician on gyil, Bernard Woma at Indiana University, and purchase new guitars for the BMS Music Club.
At BHS, former student Claire Heppner taught copper enameling. Andrea Grimsley mentored students on the second phase of an art history ceramic mosaic mural installed on a wall there. Laurie Ruble and Miranda Hamilton choreographed spring musical “Anything Goes.”
Some artists visited more than one school. Stanley Wernz was Abe Lincoln at BPS and BIS. Author/illustrator Will Hillenbrand encouraged BPS, SLS and BHS students. Neusole Glass professionals spent a week in the BHS parking lot teaching glass blowing and fusing to BPS and BHS students and the general public. Band director Eric Stauffer brought in professional musicians Ron Jones, Bryan Carter and Dr. Milt Allen as clinicians for BMS and BHS band students. At BIS and SLS, cartoonist Steve Harpster presented a draw-along workshop and gave each child an autographed drawing book. Adam Sidwell, author of the best-selling young adult book “Evertaster,” offered one week of convocations and workshops on writing and literacy at BIS and BMS.
Young Artist Showcase
Established in 1992, the program recognizes students in grades 6-12 who excel in art, music, writing, dance and drama and was chaired last year by Eric Linville, who was assisted by other volunteers. Professional judges are enlisted to judge the entries in each discipline. Last year the RAA awarded over 100 trophies and ribbons at each school’s end-of-year awards program along with the sports and academic awards. Trophy-winning students also have their names placed on a special plaque at each school.
AIE Evening Series
The idea behind the series, coordinated by Anne Amrhein, “is to bring in some of the wonderful artists in residence and visiting artists that we sponsor in the schools during the day and sponsor them in the evening for a workshop or performance for parents and community members.” Four were scheduled in 2012-13: Will Hillenbrand presented at Family Literacy Night for K-5, Don Edwards organized a Clayworks Community Night, Adam and Jarom Sidwell discussed working on special affects and animation for blockbuster movies and Dr. Milt Allen conducted BHS and BMS bands for a public concert.
In addition to Rockwood, many AIE volunteers made these programs successful: Batesville Community School Corp. teachers Amy McCabe, Mary K. Cambron, Leon Enneking, Anne Amrhein, Rebecca Davies, Grace Kontur, Eric Stauffer, Laura Hicks, Carla Thomas, Lori Spears, Erica Vogel, Rachael Berkemeier; OA teachers Pam Burroughs and Kris Wampler; and SLS teacher Hilary Carvitti.
In addition to RAA, funding support came from the John A. Hillenbrand Foundation, Columbus Area Arts Council, Indiana Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts,John W. Hillenbrand Vision Fund for Quality Education, Rockwood Foundation, PTO funds from the schools involved and BCSC. Rockwood also thanked organizations that supported the RAA programs: city of Batesville, Rising Sun Community Foundation, Franklin County Community Foundation, Hill-Rom and Ripley County Community Foundation.