Students at Clemmons and Lewisville elementary and middle schools will benefit from a grant awarded to the Arts Council by the Clemmons Community Foundation that will expand its Arts-In-Education programs during the 2018-19 school year.

“The Arts Council has been a leader in arts education for decades and is one of the first groups to champion a comprehensive and collective approach in working with the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools to aggregate all arts-education programming,” said Catherine Heitz New, the Project Consultant for the Arts Council. “It has been a major legacy for us, but we don’t want to sit on our laurels. We are always pushing forward to innovate and evolve the program for today’s world.”

Specific programs are still being finalized, but Heitz New said that the ability of the Arts Council to offer more programming to the schools because of the grant will be an immense benefit to the Clemmons community.

Exposure to arts programs has been proven to improve self-esteem and problem-solving skills as well as foster creative development and appreciation for a diverse community. Students who are enriched with arts education learn such skills as critical thinking, team work, and problem solving.

Heitz New said that the Arts Council has been working closely with Brad Oliver, the Arts Program Manager for the WS/FCS to help implement the programming.

“Along with Brad (Oliver), we have been working with lead arts instructors in the schools for each of the disciplines to make sure the programs we are putting in are in line with the curriculums,” Heitz New said. “We also want to be sure they are inserted into the school system to help with arts learning in a non-arts environment. One of those pieces has been identifying schools that may have not received as much programming in the past and making sure that we have the funds available to bring that to the schools. And we are very grateful to have the support of the Clemmons Community Foundation to help us do that.”

The current programming the Arts Council provides reaches about 45,000 children each year in the WS/FCS, and Heitz New said that the grant will allow for a more targeted outreach to the schools in Clemmons to start new programs or enhance existing ones to bring in more students.

“Programs are led by professional art educators who are coming into the schools,” Heitz New said. “Sometimes, it is through direct hands-on learning from our instructors, and sometimes, we are working with teachers at the schools to essentially do continuing education around arts-integrated learning. By investing in arts-based education, we are fueling the lifeblood and workforce of the future.”