$20K grant will fund activities in arts at AES

Published 2:34 am Saturday, March 17, 2018

Andalusia Elementary School recently received a $20,000 Alabama Arts Initiative Grant.

Cathy Powell, the music and art teacher at AES, said that they will use the money to add on to Club Day that AES started this year.

“We will be using this to educate students on not just visual arts, but all of the fine arts,” Powell said. “We want to incorporate music, art, dance, drama and different instruments as well.”

The grant is used to bring attention to the arts, and help schools with a large number of students and only one teacher.

In order to receive the grant, Powell must attend the AAEI grant orientation, logistics and model training in Montgomery, in conjunction with the Alabama Arts Alliance, Arts Advocacy Day.

“As teachers, we need to be properly educated and trained so we can properly educate our students,” Powell said.

Powell hopes to use the grant for bringing in professionals from the community to teach and infuse art in the clubs during club day.

Another thing that Powell said will help club day is to educate the kids properly and the present the clubs that they know.

“I’ve noticed that kids usually sign up for what they know,” Powell said. “For example, if they just see the word ‘drama’ they don’t necessarily know what they will be doing in the club, but if they see ‘dance club’ or ‘arts and crafts’ they will be more likely to join those clubs.”

Powell said that she will spend the first month of next year presenting the clubs to the students to make sure they know for sure which ones they would like to join.

Powell wants to work in a theme to the club day as well.

“I want to make the theme ‘Exploring Alabama through the Arts,’” Powell said. “Let’s say if we are in pottery club, we would use Alabama red clay for the pots, or if the kids are in a choir they would sing Alabama folksongs.”

One idea that Powell had would be to have an end of the year event, where kids would show what they have been working on in their clubs.

“It would be a big art event,” Powell said. “We will team up with the Leader In Me Symposium and have all of the clubs show off the things they have been learning.”

For example, kids in dance club would perform a dance number, there would be an art gallery of all the paintings kids in the art club have painted, the choir would sing a song they have rehearsed and the pottery club would show some things they have made, Powell said.

Powell is still researching several different ideas to add to club day, but will know more when she goes to the AAEI workshop.

“All of this will be touch and go since it is the first year,” Powell said. “But I want to make sure that we are doing something good for the students. I don’t want them to just go to a club and leave without learning anything, I want them to use their new found knowledge to benefit the community.”