FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2020
CHATHAM ARTS COUNCIL TAKES ARTISTS-IN-SCHOOLS INITIATIVE ONLINE FOR CHATHAM COUNTY STUDENTS
In Lieu of Live Experiences, Artists Develop Online Videos to Engage Students through Creative Exploration
Pittsboro, NC – Across the country, schools are shuttered and students are learning at home. While students are missing their talented teachers, school routines, and friends, they’re also missing out on some of the special performances and educational events they would have been part of during the regular school year. The Chatham Arts Council (CAC) is stepping in to help change that.
The CAC’s Artists-in-Schools Initiative brings professional artists into Chatham County schools to help make deeper curriculum connections through art, theater, and music. With schools closed, the CAC is offering professional arts workshops made specifically for Chatham County students through online videos—making Chatham one of the first counties in the state to offer this option. Participating artists are creating five- to 20-minute educational and performance videos, hosted on the CAC website and available to Chatham County Schools’ teachers and students via the At Home Learning page—and to Chatham’s three public charters via their teachers.
“I am so grateful to the Chatham Arts Council’s flexibility to bring the remaining Artists-in-Schools experiences to all of our students, even though they are not currently in the school buildings,” expressed Sharon Allen, Lead Arts Teacher, Chatham County Schools. “The Artists-in-Schools Initiative offers students the opportunity to observe and participate in the creative process with professional artists. These videos are great resources for students, teachers, and parents during this time of At Home Learning,” Ms. Allen went on to explain.
The videos will be available as a resource for all kindergarten through eighth-grade students. The CAC hopes they will provide students with unique opportunities for a richer engagement with learning objectives, dovetailing with their teachers’ curricula. Cheryl Chamblee, Executive Director of the CAC, added, “When stay at home order went into effect, we immediately began brainstorming ways to continue this valuable program by pivoting to an online version. We have seen first-hand the powerful connection being made when the arts are leveraged to support core curriculum. And, also, seeing these professional artists who are speaking directly to Chatham’s kids is just fun. Our school administrators and teachers—and parents, too!—are working so intensely right now. We wanted to provide something to help.”
The Artists-in-Schools online videos are being created by dancers, performance artists, a West African musician, a puppeteer, and jazz musicians. These talented artists include: Black Box Dance Theatre, Diali Cissokho, NC Arts in Action, Jeghetto, and John Brown’s Little Big Band. Through these videos, students will have an opportunity to explore the world, learning about different cultures and varying forms of art, with a through line of resilience. “This online version is a great way to offer a program that would have only been in one school to all 13 elementary schools,” said Tarish Pipkins, participating artist, Jeghetto’s Entertainment, LLC.
To learn more about the online Artists-in-Schools Initiative, visit www.ChathamArtsCouncil.org.
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-seventh year as a nonprofit arts agency, Chatham Arts Council’s flagship programs include Meet This Artist, Go See This, Grassroots Arts 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 NC Arts Council, the Durham Arts Council, Chatham County Schools, and numerous Chatham arts organizations, human resource nonprofits, and local businesses. For more information, visit http://www.ChathamArtsCouncil.org.
CONTACT: April Starling, Marketing/Public Relations Leader of the Chatham Arts Council, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.