INCREASING OPPORTUNITIES IN ARTS: Florala, Red Level each receive $20,000 grants from ALSDE

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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Florala High School and Red Level School each recently applied and received a $20,000 grant from the Alabama State Department of Education to use toward their schools’ arts programs.

The Alabama Arts Education Initiative Grant is offered by ALDOE to public schools and community organizations to strengthen the development and implementation of comprehensive arts education programs in the schools. Grants range in value from $20,000 to $25,000.

Hope Hunt at Florala said her school will utilize the AAEI grant for assistance with the arts.

“I love my school and community and any chance I have to provide more opportunities for my children, I am going to take. We are going to offer a summer arts program by painting murals in the school hallway with a local artist,” Hunt said.

Hunt is an English teacher who has taught at FHS for the last eight years and also serves as the school’s yearbook sponsor.

“We are going to be assisting with the publications of posters and flyers for the Covington County theater productions. With this grant, we will also be expanding our school’s choir program at Florala. We are very appreciative to have received this grant and thank the Alabama State Department of Education for their assistance to help our students,” Hunt added.

Britta Lambert at Red Level said her school has received the grant in the past but was eligible to apply again.

“I have never worked within an arts program before and had certainly never written a grant before, so the task seemed very daunting for me,” Lambert said. “Thanks to the help of some of my fellow county teacher colleagues and friends like Jennifer Withrow at Pleasant Home and Tina Shiver at Straughn, I was able to figure out what I was doing.

“When most people hear the terms ‘Arts Education,’ they think of drawing or painting, and some may even think of theater. The purpose of this grant is essentially to expand or create an Arts Education program within the school. That would include visual and theatre arts to encompass anything from drawing, painting, and sculpting to dancing to singing to theatrical productions.”

Lambert is a science teacher who has taught at RLS for the last 13 years. Principal Tony Ingram asked Lambert to be part of the Covington County Schools’ Collaborative Arts Committee.

“This $20,000 grant will serve to help our students in so many ways. With the grant, we can do things like bring in local artists from different specialties to work with our students on different projects. We can update and acquire materials needed to put on school productions such as lighting and sound equipment. It will also allow us to offer different exposures within the arts to our students who are interested in learning more or gaining experiences within the arts throughout their time in high school,” Lambert added.

Both Hunt and Lambert applied for the grant through an online application process.

“Right now, outside of band, most of our students at RLS do not have daily arts education. This grant will make it possible for us to offer other arts opportunities to our students,” Lambert said. “Exposure to different forms of the arts is so important. For our students at Red Level, some of those opportunities will come in the form of having local artists come in to offer specific art lessons to some of our students. In the future, we also want to bring back our drama department and hopefully put on school theatrical productions. Some of our students already play various roles within our countywide productions, so we want to hopefully encourage more participation by having productions at the school level. In the past, those types of productions have been very successful within our student body and community.”

These grants are usually available and due in the fall of each school year. If funding is awarded, it becomes available to schools in the spring. Grants may provide additional support to schools with a current plan designed to provide quality arts instruction.

“This all goes back to opportunities. We have a wonderful faculty at Red Level, and many of them have already reached out to me offering assistance wherever it is needed. We all work together to do what is in the best interest of our students,” Lambert said.

Schools must have the full support of staff, which includes teachers, administrators, specialists, and assists, and also participate in an intensive arts professional development.

The Covington County Schools Collaborative Arts Program will present “Little Women: The Broadway Musical” on April 19.

For more information about the grants email or or call Florala High School at 334-658-8159 and Red Level School at 334-469-5315.