Fifty-seven local artists, volunteers, and high school students visited Adair County Elementary School Friday for the third annual Leaders in the Arts program. The event, which is orchestrated by music teacher Paula Bault and art teacher Rachel Bardin, serves as an introduction to many areas of artistic expression with which students might not yet be acquainted.
Bault, the program’s founder, said the idea came about as the result of a visit to another school. “Our program review scores were really low, and one of the things that is important is community involvement in art programs,” Bault explains. “After I visited a leadership day – they did something similar to this – I came back and decided to do it here. It’s great for the kids because they get exposure to local professionals in all five areas [dance, drama, music, visual, and media] of the arts.”
Demonstrations and workshops Friday included pottery with Donnie Perry; choir with Ginna Marsh; music with Tom Case, Austin Bralley, and the ACHS band; hip hop, ballet, and tap dance with Ashley Wilson of the Dance Shoppe; art with Debra Wimmer; storytelling with Edd Sterchi, Leeann Jessie, and Tim Johnson; GoNoodle with Alice Curry, Jennifer Kemp, Ryan McQueary, and Chris Downs; colonial American dance with Angie Smith; banner and mural painting with Cayce Davenport and ACHS art students; hip hop dance with Damon Hicks; quaver music with Lana Glasgow and Bart Hadley; monogram with Courtney Grant; drama games with Lisa Cowan, Brett Reliford, and ACHS performing arts students; Picasso with Henrietta Scott; radio with 93.5 WAIN; and wacky hats with Debbie Cowan and Kathy Tucker.
“It is absolutely important for these kids to have the opportunity to experience the arts,” says ACES Principal Steve Burton. “Sometimes we get so bogged down with the reading and math we forget how important the arts can be. For some kids that might struggle in those other classes, this might be their thing.”
Bardin says she hopes students find something enjoyable that they might not have been familiar with before. “They’re getting exposed to all the areas of art and they might find something new that they love that they’ve never done,” Bardin says. “They get to do all these different things and see that there might be something they want to pursue.”
Another visitor at the school Friday was District Board chairwoman Lisa Burton, who says she was glad to see the many organizations from the high school visit the younger students. “These kids can see what’s going to be offered to them later on, when they move on to the middle school and high school,” Burton says. “I like that it gives them something to look forward to and work toward – hopefully it opens their eyes to a lot of new interests. It’s really impressive.”
By Wes Feese
Media Relations, Adair County Schools