FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 4, 2021
CHATHAM ARTS COUNCIL REINVENTS ARTISTS-OUTSIDE-SCHOOLS INITIATIVE TO REACH LOCAL STUDENTS
Program Aims to Build Resiliency through the Arts During a Time of Extraordinary Need
Pittsboro, NC—What does it mean to be resilient? Would persevering through a global pandemic that reveals widening inequity and national fracture count? As adults struggle through this time, how can we help children make sense of what they’re experiencing, what they’re bearing witness to? The Chatham Arts Council offers one piece of the solution through its Artists-OUTSIDE-Schools Initiative. In partnership with Chatham County Schools and public charters in the county, the CAC is providing virtual and physically distanced arts residencies to students focusing on resiliency through the arts. The goal is to help kids feel seen in their experiences through cultural and historical context around challenge and perseverance.
“We are especially excited that the theme for this year’s programming is on resilience,” shared Amanda J. Hartness, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent, Academic Services & Instructional Support Division, Chatham County Schools. “The arts can be a perfect avenue for students to express their feelings, emotions, and points of view during this unprecedented time. We are blessed to live in a community that not only supports the arts, but also ensures that the arts continue to be an integral part of the educational landscape.”
Prior to the pandemic, the CAC’s Artists-in-Schools Initiative brought professional artists into local schools to help make deeper curriculum connections through art, theater, and music. Though the CAC has been successfully growing the program since the 2015-16 school year, the pandemic prompted a creative change. This year, through Artists-OUTSIDE-Schools, the arts organization will be shifting to monthly artist videos, workshops, and roving arts residencies to reach children through the arts in a safe way.
Not only do the arts help students develop innovative problem-solving skills, they also provide a creative outlet for children, and a path for processing trauma – something that is especially critical during the current global challenges. As with the Artists-in-Schools Initiative, all of the arts residencies will help foster a personal connection for students to their academic lessons via artistic immersion.
“The arts provide a way forward for children,” asserted Cheryl Chamblee, Executive Director of the Chatham Arts Council (CAC). “We have so many gifted artists right here in this region, and they’ve been working through the summer and fall to create in new sizes, shapes, and angles—with formats and perspectives that can reach kids in this specific moment.”
Virtual Artist of the Month Videos
Rather than bringing talented local artists inside Chatham County schools, Artists-OUTSIDE-Schools will begin by providing a virtual artist of the month video to be used with arts or music curriculum for third- through fifth-graders. There are a total of five virtual artists of the month – January through May – including Black Box Dance Theatre, Mike Wiley and Howard Craft, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, EbzB Productions, and one more to be confirmed.
Interactive Virtual Workshops
In addition, the CAC will be providing 37 interactive, virtual, artist workshops across the county—one for every fifth-grade class. An additional artist on tap to participate in the artist workshops is poet Phillip Shabazz.
Roving Arts Residencies
The CAC will also be working on traveling artist performances in four communities later this spring. While not an official partnership with schools, the CAC will concentrate these efforts for school communities, aiming to reach as many children as possible. An artist or artist group will perform on the back of a trailer as it moves slowly through each community, so that the artist(s) can perform and interact with kids and their families in a COVID-safe way.
In the school year prior to the pandemic, the CAC partnered with 21 professional artists to bring the Artists-in-Schools Initiative to all 13 elementary schools, reaching 3,506 children with 27 direct curriculum connections. The organization has a lofty goal to be in every school, every year, by 2025.
Arts for Resilient Kids is the umbrella program over three 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-OUTSIDE-Schools, ArtAssist for Kids, and this year’s ClydeFEST-in-the-Wild, please click here. Your generosity will be used to help bring one of these three kid-centric programs to life.
For more information on Artists-OUTSIDE-Schools, please click here.
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, 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 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 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.