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W.Va. Schools to Celebrate the Arts with Special Event

February 07, 2007

CHARLESTON, W.Va. _ The West Virginia Department of Education is organizing an event for May that will celebrate the artistic talents of public schoolchildren.  

The celebration will showcase artwork of students from across West Virginia. The signature event will feature the visual arts as well as instrumental and vocal music performances. Plans are in the works to make the celebration an annual event with dance and theatre to be added to next year’s program.  

“The arts are vital to the success of the 21st century student,” said State Superintendent Steve Paine. “Arts programs encourage students to think creatively and adopt fresh approaches. Classes such as music, visual art, theatre and dance challenge our perceptions and help develop ways of thinking that are visual rather than verbal. They foster creative thinking and help bridge language and other barriers among diverse cultures in a global society.”  

The event is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2, at 7 p.m. at the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in Charleston.  

Artwork to be displayed at the event will be chosen by the West Virginia Art Education Association. Regional solo and ensemble festivals will serve as a venue for music selections. Other groups may be included by invitation or through a variety of other existing contests and adjudications across the state.  

Organizers also will use technology, a component of the Department of Education’s 21st Century Learning initiative, to increase the number of works on view by projecting images throughout the event.  

West Virginia’s public schools have produced such successful artists as Don Knotts, David Selby, Kathy Mattea, Brad Paisley, Jennifer Garner and most recently, Derek Keeling, a finalist on the television show, “You’re the One That I Want.”  

For more information, contact Julia Lee, fine arts coordinator for the state Department of Education, at 304-558-5325 or jrlee@access.k12.wv.us.

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