|Spalted sycamore and white oak|
Eureka Springs is one of the top 25 arts destinations in America, selected annually as one of the finest communities for the arts. We have more artists per capita than any other small town in the United States, and arts are our greatest resource as a tourist destination. Arts are our industry. And there is a connection between learning and the arts as I describe in this invitation:
Children who are involved in the arts perform better in schools, hands down. Whether we’re talking about music, dance, theater, or the visual arts, involvement in the arts affects grades, test scores, depth of learning and overall educational enthusiasm. And so here we are in Eureka Springs, one of the foremost arts communities in our nation, and there is absolutely no reason that we could not have the very best schools in our nation… schools that reflect the deep relationship we have with the arts.
I propose a broad alliance between our schools and the arts and artists that make our community vibrant and unique. We are poised to open a new high school building, and that in itself offers the possibility for a complete cultural renewal of our schools, but what direction will that take? I suggest that we strongly consider greater integration of the arts.
All across the United States schools are struggling to improve and demonstrate improved learning, and in Eureka Springs, we are pushed along by state regulations all the while demonstrating failure to utilize our most valuable community resources. Just as our community is on the cutting edge in the arts, our schools in collaboration with the arts could an be on the cutting edge of educational reform, serve as a model for our nation, give the best of all possible lives to our children, and insure their futures by making best use of what lies immediately at hand.
The arts. A+ Schools is a program that started in North Carolina and has a proven track record of raising test scores through the integration of the arts in learning. A+ may or may not be as far as we ourselves would want to go in the integration of the arts in our schools, but investigation of A+ Schools should be our first small step in what many of us know to be the right direction.
Paul Leopoulos of the Thea Foundation will introduce A+ Schools at a meeting of artists, educators, parents and interested public on Sunday October 14 at 1:30 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 33 Elk St. Eureka Springs. I want to personally invite all concerned citizens (and artists) to attend.Today in the wood shop, I (with help) will be sanding the bodies of boxes and making lids. The first of many finished boxes for this commission is shown above.
Make, fix and create...