West Virginia Schools Showcase the Arts at Arts Alive

April 29, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Student artists and musicians from across the state were featured Friday at the West Virginia Department of Education’s seventh annual Arts Alive celebrating the arts achievement of public schoolchildren.

Arts Alive showcased the visual and performance art of students statewide. This year, an artistic creation by preschool children was added as part of a yearlong Celebration of West Virginia Universal Pre-K. The event also included performances by the All-State chorus and the Arts Alive dance ensemble, both of which included students from across the state.

Those performing on the mainstage included the Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary drum ensemble, Capital High School performing arts students, both from Kanawha County; the Cabell Midland High School trumpet ensemble from Cabell County; Shepherdstown Middle School Jazz Band and members of the Jefferson High School Thespian Troupe of Jefferson County; Cheat Lake Elementary and North Elementary strings students, Mountaineer Middle School Eighth Grade Orchestra and Morgantown High School/University High School Symphony Orchestra, all from Monongalia County. The finale chorus will feature voices of students across the state.

In addition to the lobby and mainstage performances, the Department of Education named a winner from the integrating science and the arts entries, Ashley Sauls from Ravenswood High School in Jackson County.  The Science in the Arts competition was created in 2012 to encourage high school students to consider, research, and present information about relationships between the two subjects. Samantha Shimer, a senior at Parkersburg South High School, created the winning Arts Alive logo this year.

“We know that students learn best when they are able to connect different subjects and integrate their learning,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares. “Science and art are everywhere, and the interdependence of the subjects is undeniable. Well-taught arts courses are where creativity, flexibility, innovation, understanding and empathy are consistently required. These are skills that are transferable to many other disciplines.”

A 2012 study of students in West Virginia found that those with an arts-rich high school experience scored higher in mathematics and reading/ language arts. This finding generally held true even for students of lower socioeconomic status or with disabilities.

“Years of research show that an education that includes the arts is closely linked to almost everything that we demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity,” Phares said.

For more information, contact John Deskins, arts coordinator for the state Department of Education, at 304-558-5325 or jdeskins@access.k12.wv.us, or the Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.

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