March Proclaimed As Arts in W.Va. Schools Month

March 24, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The next Picasso could be discovered this month in one of West Virginia’s public schools as Gov. Joe Manchin on Tuesday issued a proclamation and encouraged schools to celebrate the arts during Arts in West Virginia Schools Month.

Arts in W.Va. Schools Month

“Art education plays an important role in the 21st century classroom,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “Core subjects like math and science remain the foundation, but art education also is important. It allows a child to fine-tune other vital skills necessary to succeed today, such as critical thinking and creativity.”

Arts in West Virginia Schools Month recognizes the importance the four disciplines of the arts -- theater, visual art, dance and music -- play in the lives of everyone, including children. All four disciplines of the arts also are celebrated during March on the national level. National Youth Art Month, Music in Our Schools Month and Theatre in our Schools Month will all be recognized throughout the month of March.

Arts in W.Va. Schools Month

Studies have shown that an arts-based education increases academic success, heightens standardized tests and lowers the incidence of crime among general and at-risk students.

Studies also indicate that young people who participate in the arts for three days a week for one year are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and three times more likely to be awarded for school attendance.

Arts in W.Va. Schools Month

Another recent study found that an interest in the performing arts can lead to attention improvements, while training in acting can lead to memory improvement.

West Virginia state policy requires all high school students to have at least one art credit to graduate.

For more information, contact Julia Lee, arts coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education, at (304) 558-7805, or the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.

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