Excelsior Middle School was named a "distinguished arts program" for the third year in a row and received a grant of more than $19,000 to provide artist in residence, staff development, percussion instruments and technology.
Mitchell Lewis, Union County Schools' Teacher of the Year and general music teacher at Excelsior Middle School, will oversee the grant project with assistance from band director Ron Johnson and art teacher Shannon Farr.
Foster Park School received nearly $5,000 in special project grant funding for "Arts Around the World," with plans to use the money to help students focus on different cultures in the areas of the arts. Music teacher Jean Young and art teacher Amy Truitt want to see a greater understanding and appreciation of world cultures in the lives of their students. The grant will provide two artists in residence - one in dance and one in music. They plan to use the remainder of the money to purchase supplies and materials to celebrate "Arts Around the World" at an event in February of 2009.
"We are very excited about this grant and the multicultural and arts opportunities it will provide for our students here at Foster Park," Truitt said.
Union County Schools received a district special project grant of $7,500 to help provide music stands and furniture for the new orchestra program, which is a new district initiative this year. Orchestra director John Kvasnicka serves the fifth grade in all five elementary schools. The program is expected to expand over the next few years to include the development of a high school symphony.
"The arts are an integral part of a quality education,” said Dr. Susanne Gunter, director of Adult Education and Special Projects. “We want our students in Union County to have every opportunity that other students across the state have with regards to arts education. The Arts Curricular Grants have been around for many years and we are thankful for the assistance this funding provides. Programs like the Arts Curricular Grant program enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Union County."