FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2021
CHATHAM ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES 2021-22 ARTISTS-IN-SCHOOLS SEASON
Program Aims to Foster Students’ Personal Connections to Academics via Artistic Immersion
Pittsboro, NC— If you love the arts, you know how transformative it can be to experience a live performance. But access to the arts is not equal. Many children don’t have access to crayons and markers, let alone the opportunity to see a show or hear a concert. The Chatham Arts Council (CAC) is working to change that through its Artists-in-Schools Initiative. In partnership with Chatham County Schools and public charters in the county, the CAC is providing arts residencies to students, one transformative experience at a time.
The CAC’s Artists-in-Schools Initiative brings professional artists into local schools to help make deeper curriculum connections through art, theatre, and music. The organization has been successfully growing the program since the 2015-16 school year and aims to be in every school, every year, by 2025.
“We’ve seen first-hand how these residencies awaken something in students that allows them to express themselves in new and creative ways,” asserted Julie Amani, Artists-in-Schools Facilitator, Chatham Arts Council. “That is powerful. That is transformational. That is at the heart of our Artists-in-Schools Initiative.”
Research shows that the arts help students develop innovative problem-solving skills, build self-confidence, provide a creative outlet, and offer a path for processing trauma – something that continues to be critical during the ongoing pandemic.
This year’s Artists-in-Schools season will bring artists into all 11 public Chatham County elementary and K-8 schools, four charter schools, and the Virtual Academy, with programming primarily for fifth graders. Students will experience performances and take part in engaging workshops on a variety of subjects, building a connection to core curriculum content. Artists include Black Box Dance Theatre (modern dance), John Brown (jazz music), Diali Cissokho (West African music), EbzB Productions (theatre), Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana (Spanish dance), The Magic of Africa Rhythm (African drumming, dancing, storytelling, and visual arts), Phillip Shabazz (poetry), and Mike Wiley (theatre). The season will run from the fall through April.
“One goal of educators is to reach all students,” shared David Clark, Music Teacher, Bonlee School. “However, some students are more difficult to engage with than others. Mike Wiley’s engaging presentation [last year] and encouraging demeanor resulted in student participation and volunteering from students who are normally rather passive.”
Making Direct Curriculum Connections
Fundamental to the success of Artists-in-Schools residencies, is the ability for the artist and teacher to collaborate, ensuring that the interactive workshops leverage the arts to support learning objectives. This year, artists are using their craft to create opportunities for a deeper engagement with diverse subjects:
- Nationally known theatre artist Mike Wiley: social studies, writing
- Modern dance company Black Box Dance Theatre: mathematics, dance
- Nationally recognized jazz musician John Brown: social studies, music
- West African musician and storyteller Diali Cissokho: mathematics, social studies, dance, music
- Poet Phillip Shabazz: writing
- Spanish dance company Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana: social studies, mathematics, dance
- The Magic of Africa Rhythm, a group who focuses on the African concept of Ngoma, the “rhythmic thread” that links drumming, dancing, storytelling and visual arts together: social studies, science, dance, music
- Theatre production company EbzB Productions: social studies
As of now, this year’s residencies will take place in person, with COVID-19 precautions in place. All artists working in person with students are required to be vaccinated and will wear masks when working directly with the students.
Last year, during remote learning, the CAC shifted its program to become Artists-OUTSIDE-Schools, providing monthly artist videos, interactive virtual workshops, and roving neighborhood music and dance performances to reach children through the arts in a safe way. With students back in school, the organization is thrilled to be returning to in-person residencies, providing an opportunity for children to interact with myriad artists and discover the arts in a way they never have before.
About Artists-in-Schools & Arts for Resilient Kids
Last year, the CAC provided 36 interactive virtual workshops in schools across the county, and offered Virtual Artist of the Month performances to all 14 elementary schools.
Arts for Resilient Kids is the umbrella program over four unique initiatives in pandemic times, specifically aligned with the CAC’s mission to educate kids through the arts. If you’d like to support Artists-in-Schools, ArtAssist for Kids, Truck-and-Trailer Roving Performances, and ClydeFEST, please click here. Your generosity will be used to help bring these four kid-centric programs to life.
For more information on Artists-in-Schools, please visit www.ChathamArtsCouncil.org/artists-in-schools.
ABOUT THE CHATHAM ARTS COUNCIL
The Chatham Arts Council nurtures creative thinkers in Chatham County. We do this in two ways: we invest in artists, and we educate kids through the arts. In its thirty-ninth year as a nonprofit arts agency, Chatham Arts Council’s flagship programs include Meet This Artist, Go See This, artist grants, and the Chatham Artists-in-Schools Initiative – serving more than 3,500 children this year. Chatham Arts Council is proud to partner with the North Carolina Arts Council, the Durham Arts Council, Chatham County Schools, and numerous Chatham arts organizations, human resource nonprofits, and local businesses. For more information, visit www.ChathamArtsCouncil.org.
CONTACT: April Starling, Marketing/Public Relations Leader of the Chatham Arts Council, email@example.com or 917.544.0608.
NOTE: Feel free to publish partially or in its entirety, with or without a byline. The article was written by April Starling, Marketing/Public Relations Leader, Chatham Arts Council.