Encompassing the four disciplines of the Fine Arts, theater, visual art, dance and music, Arts in West Virginia Schools Month recognizes the importance they play in the lives of everyone, including children.
March is designated on the national level, as well, as a month to celebrate all of the four disciplines. According to the National Art Education Association, it is National Youth Art Month. Music is also being celebrated nationally as “Music in our Schools Month” and theater is being recognized internationally as “Theatre in our Schools Month.”
“The arts enhance our public schools and enrich the lives of students throughout the Mountain State,” said State Schools Superintendent David Stewart. “These programs also encourage students to shape and develop their own talents. Whether through dance, song, on a canvas on paper or on the stage, the arts open our eyes to the richness and the miracles of the human experience.”
In celebration of the Arts, several activities are scheduled throughout West Virginia. West Virginia Youth Art Month exhibits are scheduled for March 2- April 4 at Tamarack in Beckley, and from March 12 –April 25 at the Cultural Center in Charleston. West Virginia Youth Art Month Awards Ceremony is scheduled for March 12 at the Cultural Center. Also, the West Virginia Music Education Conference is slated for March 25-27, with performances by the All-State Children’s Choir and the All-State Orchestra, Band and Choir. Thespian festivals will be held in various locations throughout the state.
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.
For more information about Arts in West Virginia Schools Month, contact Julia Lee, WVDE Fine Arts Coordinator, at (304) 558-7805.