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Letter: National Arts in Education Week
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Dear Editor,

Designated by Congress, House Resolution 275 named this week as National Arts in Education Week. During this time, Sept. 11-17, arts education and its supporters join together across the country to tell the story of the transformative power of the arts in education.

It is a particularly important time to celebrate arts education, as we usher in a new chapter of American educational policy with the Every Student Succeeds Act and its many arts-friendly provisions. In the new law, the arts remain a "well-rounded" subject and are empowered to be central to a child's education in our schools.

The Arts Association in Newton County believes arts education is a key component to the education of children in our community. Through our Young Artists programs, arts education is possible for children from birth to 12th grade. Programs include Oxford Singers — an auditioned choir for children in grades 1– 12; True Colours Youth Art Exhibit — in collaboration with the Newton County School System (NCSS), this visual art exhibit features student created artwork; Newton County Youth Strings — Suzuki based private lessons in cello and violin; Covington Regional Ballet School and Company - offering both pre-professional and recreational dance classes including ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip-hop and Broadway with the school providing a natural feeder system for new dancers for the company. CRB also offers Music and Movement classes for babies and an Adaptive Dance class for students with special needs. Summer camps — Creative Kids Camp, Musical Theater Camp, Princess and Pirate Camp, Acting Camp, Summer Dance Intensives and Summer Dance Camps — round out the Young Artists Program offerings.

In collaboration with the NCSS, the Arts Association is committed to enriching children’s lives through the LEAP initiative — Learning Enrichment through Arts Project. Each year in-school residency performances are presented to NCSS students. Students are bussed to the theater where they participate in the arts as audience members. One such LEAP program is CRB Company’s production of “The Nutcracker”. Over 1,500 fourth-graders watch a shortened production of the classic ballet by attending one of three performances held during school hours. With over 75 percent of the students receiving free or reduced meals in our school system, have never had the opportunity to attend a ballet. Our donors and partnership with NCSS help the Arts Association provide this wonderful opportunity for our community’s children.

The Arts Association operates solely on individual donations, corporate sponsorships and fee income; no taxes from the city, county, state or federal government provide operational support to our organization. Your gifts matter—they help us provide LEAP opportunities to school children, scholarships to students for program participation, and subsidize our young artists programs. In addition, your donations provide world-class entertainment like the performance by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at the renovated Porter Performing Arts Center on Oct. 2. Arts Education matters. The Arts Association affirms the importance of the arts in childhood development and is grateful to our relationship with NCSS in making a difference for our community!

Abigail Coggin
Arts Association