How Triangle Schools Keep Art in Education


Published:

Think back to your favorite school memories. Chances are, one or two of them involve art — and may have even inspired you to seek out a hobby or career in the arts. Whether making a collage in art class, singing in a choir or taking a field trip to see a performance, the arts play an important role in rounding out a quality education.

In the wake of the recession, many states have cut funding for school arts programs. North Carolina is no exception — squeezed budgets have forced public schools to get creative with how they make arts accessible to students.

“There is a statewide mandate to have arts education, arts integration and arts exposure well represented in the schools, but the mandate is unfunded,” says N.C. Arts Council Arts in Education Director Banu Valladares.

Fortunately, North Carolina is home to many passionate artists and advocates who have stepped up to help keep the arts a vibrant part of North Carolina’s public education landscape. Whether their support involves helping teachers learn how to integrate arts into the new Common Core State Standards curriculum, or providing resources for schools to host musical performances, many Triangle artists and advocates are working to fill the gaps.

Teachers in Training

Training teachers with national models to take innovative approaches to arts integration is one way to keep the arts a vital part of everyday instruction. The United Arts Council of Raleigh, N.C. Arts Council and Durham Arts Council all offer resources that can fulfill continuing education credits and inspire new ideas in the classroom.

The United Arts Council of Raleigh’s Arts Integration Institute (unitedarts.org/artsed/aii) gives teachers hands-on opportunities to learn art-teaching techniques from renowned North Carolina artists. The N.C. Arts Council offers an A+ Schools Program to combine interdisciplinary teaching and daily arts construction (aplus-schools.ncdcr.gov). And the Durham Arts Council provides educators with arts-integrated teaching plans and other resources (durhamarts.org/teaching_artist.html).

Making sure all children — no matter what their limitations are — engage with existing art programs can be a struggle for teachers. Arts Access trains teachers to develop strategies for making their curricula accessible to children with disabilities.

“We did a big workshop last March in Cary where we invited teaching artists to come,” says Betsy Ludwig, Arts Access’ program director. “The keynote address was about making the arts accessible; for example, how to include children with autism, how to include a kid who uses a computer to talk. We help art instructors by thinking about what they do and offering ideas about how they can include all kids.”

Creative Learning

Planning arts curricula takes time many teachers don’t have. The United Arts Council (in Wake County) and the Durham Arts Council have both created ready-to-go curricula that integrate the arts and conform to state educational standards, making it easy for schools to implement.

Every August, the United Arts Council hosts a booking fair — a day-long event that offers representatives who book programs for their schools an opportunity to meet with the artists and performers who make up the Artists in the Schools programs. The Durham Arts Council hosts a similar event for its Creative Arts in the Public/Private Schools (CAPS) program. Teachers and PTA representatives come to browse the offerings and make selections for the upcoming school year. From African drumming to puppet-making, there is something for all ages and interests.

Although there is a booking fee, arts councils work hard to make sure all schools can pay for some of these resources. “The Durham Public School district partners with the CAPS program, and all Durham Public Schools have a CAPS budget they can use, based on enrollment,” says Shanna Adams, manager of the CAPS program.

The N.C. Arts Council compiles an arts curriculum available to schools for a small fee. “We offer district-wide performances, such as the John Brown Jazz Orchestra, that reach 500-1,000 students at a time. The N.C. Arts Council covers the artists’ fees, and the school district and the venue cover transportation,” Valladares says. “These performances are a whole package. They come with a teacher workshop that prepares all the educators to understand the art form and prepare students for the program.”

Partnering Up

Many private companies in the Triangle also invest in keeping the arts in schools. GlaxoSmithKline and Wells Fargo have made important contributions to schools in Raleigh, and a grant from Verizon allowed CAPS to offer 53 programs in 14 low-resource schools.

“The Durham Arts Council writes grants so we can re-grant to schools,” Adams says. “Target and Office Depot also offer matching grants so schools can apply for these.”

This past fall, DreamWorks Animation and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment donated $50,000 to the National Association for Music Education, a nonprofit with a  mission to support school music and arts programs. In celebration of the Blu-ray and DVD release of Shrek the Musical, this donation will be used to create five $10,000 grants to help save music and arts programs in schools.

Perhaps one of the most important partners in public school art education is the PTA. Every year, the National PTA Reflections program offers students from kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to earn local, state and national recognition for original artwork. Many Triangle schools participate in this competition, which is organized by parents and accepts submissions in the categories of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts.

Advocating Change

Aside from training instructors, advocacy is a primary task of Arts Access, Ludwig says. "We do advocacy and training about what their requirements are under the law, and offer our expertise to other arts organizations to help them figure out what they need to do to be welcoming."

Triangle ArtWorks, a nonprofit with a mission to provide services, support and resources for ensuring a vibrant creative community throughout the Triangle, believes teaching artists to advocate for themselves is critical.

"The arts community is important, but as a whole, they have no power. Everyone looks at them individually," says Elizabeth Yerxa, executive director of Triangle ArtWorks. "We work with artists and teach them how to advocate for themselves. We recognize the arts as an industry group, much like plumbers or lawyers or doctors. Mostly sole proprietors, small business and nonprofits. They bring lots of money into the community and are important for education."

Valladares agrees, and emphasizes that the arts are a fundamental part of a complete education. "The arts are important because they help create people who are compassionate and empathetic," she says. "Without the arts, children aren't getting a well-rounded education."

Jill Moffett is a freelance writer and full-time mother in Durham. She blogs regularly at jillmoffett.com.

Drawing on Parents

Wondering how you can help keep the arts an important part of public education? Here are five ways to increase access to the arts in your child’s school.

 Learn about available arts programs. Keep your eyes and ears open for tips about programs and performances that might be of interest to your child’s school, and be ready to share the information.

Put art on the PTA agenda. If you haven’t joined your school’s PTA yet, do it now. PTA representatives often attend arts council fairs at the beginning of the school year to choose performances.

Donate supplies from home. Remember that request from your child’s art teacher for egg cartons and toothpicks? She was serious! Start collecting now. It makes a difference!

Share your skills. Offer to lead a poetry workshop, teach block printing, run a mixed media tutorial or share your expertise in swing dancing.

Encourage your workplace to get involved. United Arts encourages matching funds. GlaxoSmithKline has been a major funder of arts in the schools through United Arts. Perhaps your company can join in the fun.

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Cost: Free

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Cost: See website for fees

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Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Join us for the Kids Exchange Spring/Summer Consignment Sale in February!   This FREE ADMISSION event is the largest kids consignment sale in the nation and is held at the NC State Fairgrounds...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jim Graham Building
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Just in time to keep up with those home improvement resolutions for 2020, the Downtown Raleigh Home Show returns to downtown’s Raleigh Convention Center January 24-26, 2020  with a jam-packed...

Cost: Tickets are $12 for adults and free for children under 12. Advance $9 tickets

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Marketplace Events
Telephone: 904-608-3823
Contact Name: Liz Morgan

More information

Chip, chip, hooray! The first Zambrero in the Southeast is opening on January 24 with zingy, zesty activities! Bodacious Burritos and Bowls: $5 burritos and bowls all day Delicious Drawing: A...

Cost: Free

Where:
1 Glenwood Ave
#105
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: (919) 863-2561
Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice...

Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring  honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Triangle Restaurant Week (January 20-26, 2020) is a week-long celebration of culinary excellence designed to incorporate the premier Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding area restaurants....

Cost: $15-$35

Where:
Participating Restaurants
, NC


Sponsor: Triangle Blvd
Telephone: 919-673-5784
Website »

More information

Take a hike after dark and enjoy the sights and sounds of a quiet night along the American Tobacco Trail. We will walk to the Beaver Creek bridge and back (about one mile total). Free for ages 4...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately seeks out everyone and everything they know in hope of finding something meaningful to take to the grave. These 90 minutes of theatrical...

Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-7529

More information

Rumpelstiltskin-A Tale of Gold Book by Ellie FaggionMusic and Lyrics written by Brian Shrager and Ellie FaggionProduced by special arrangement with the author.Directed by Beth Wilson...

Cost: varies

Where:
Spiritual Twist Productions
1250 Aversboro Road
Garner, NC  27529
View map »


Sponsor: Spiritual Twist Productions
Telephone: 919-977-1976
Contact Name: Kathy MacDonald
Website »

More information

David Burney, lead singer for the acclaimed Johnny Cash tribute band Johnny Folsom 4, brings his one-man show to The ArtsCenter for three shows, January 24-26, 2020.  In “Hello, I’m...

Cost: $15 to $20

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G East Main St.
300-G East Main Street.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Sponsor: The ArtsCenter
Telephone: 919-929-2787
Contact Name: Patrick Phelps-Mckeown
Website »

More information

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Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Join us for the Kids Exchange Spring/Summer Consignment Sale in February!   This FREE ADMISSION event is the largest kids consignment sale in the nation and is held at the NC State Fairgrounds...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jim Graham Building
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »

More information

Join the Museum and the Raleigh Astronomy Club to help you see the big picture — of the Universe! From comet crafts to solar observing, lectures to rocket launches, space enthusiasts of all ages...

Cost: Free

Where:
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Family Wildlife Series: Tricky Tracks Saturday, January 25 10-11 a.m. Come dressed for the weather so you can roam the park learning the fine art of “tracking”.   Make a cast of an animal...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Road
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

More information

RALEIGH (Jan. 16, 2020) – The North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools will host its first school fair during National School Choice Week on Saturday, Jan. 25. The fair will take...

Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: NC Association of Public Charter Schools
Telephone: 336-669-9996
Contact Name: Rhonda Dillingham
Website »

More information

Just in time to keep up with those home improvement resolutions for 2020, the Downtown Raleigh Home Show returns to downtown’s Raleigh Convention Center January 24-26, 2020  with a jam-packed...

Cost: Tickets are $12 for adults and free for children under 12. Advance $9 tickets

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Marketplace Events
Telephone: 904-608-3823
Contact Name: Liz Morgan

More information

Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring  honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice...

Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Spanish Alive is providing Family Spanish classes starting in January! Join us to learn Spanish as an entire family in an immersive, fun environment. Our teachers are trained Spanish educators and...

Cost: $75-$216

Where:
Spanish Alive
156 E. Chatham St
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Rumpelstiltskin-A Tale of Gold Book by Ellie FaggionMusic and Lyrics written by Brian Shrager and Ellie FaggionProduced by special arrangement with the author.Directed by Beth Wilson...

Cost: varies

Where:
Spiritual Twist Productions
1250 Aversboro Road
Garner, NC  27529
View map »


Sponsor: Spiritual Twist Productions
Telephone: 919-977-1976
Contact Name: Kathy MacDonald
Website »

More information

Winter days find many animals curled up in their dens. They sleep warmly, awakening in spring ready to enjoy the renewed Earth. Discover how animals deal with cold weather and which ones hibernate...

Cost: For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for all family members,& childre

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Triangle Restaurant Week (January 20-26, 2020) is a week-long celebration of culinary excellence designed to incorporate the premier Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding area restaurants....

Cost: $15-$35

Where:
Participating Restaurants
, NC


Sponsor: Triangle Blvd
Telephone: 919-673-5784
Website »

More information

Join us in Arendelle for Frozen-inspired STEAM activities for the whole family! Included in the ticket cost is dinner and dessert for the whole family, make your own sock Olaf and Frozen bouncy...

Cost: $35 per family

Where:
Kidzu Children's Museum
201 S. Estes Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Sponsor: Kidzu Children's Museum
Telephone: 919-933-1455
Website »

More information

AML Wrestling presents our 5th Anniversary Celebration! WHEN: Saturday, January 25th, 2020WHERE: Winston-Salem Fairgrounds in theHome & Garden Building 408 27th Street NW/Gate #9 Winston-Salem, NC...

Cost: $5

Where:
Winston-Salem Fairgrounds
408 27th Street NW/Gate #9
Winston-Salem, NC  27105
View map »


Sponsor: AML Wrestling
Telephone: 336-831-0646
Contact Name: Tracy Myers
Website »

More information

Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately seeks out everyone and everything they know in hope of finding something meaningful to take to the grave. These 90 minutes of theatrical...

Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-7529

More information

David Burney, lead singer for the acclaimed Johnny Cash tribute band Johnny Folsom 4, brings his one-man show to The ArtsCenter for three shows, January 24-26, 2020.  In “Hello, I’m...

Cost: $15 to $20

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G East Main St.
300-G East Main Street.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Sponsor: The ArtsCenter
Telephone: 919-929-2787
Contact Name: Patrick Phelps-Mckeown
Website »

More information

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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2019-20 Education Guide offers 718 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.