Grant will inject art in various subjects

VAN BUREN TWP. — The Indiana Arts Commission has awarded a $10,000 grant to Van Buren Elementary School that will give students the opportunity to connect art with literature and other subjects.

The IAC’s Partnering Arts, Communities and Education (PACE) grant will go to both Van Buren and the Brown County Art Guild, according to a news release from art guild executive director Scott Hutchinson.

They will work together to integrate fine art and appreciation of fine arts into the first-grade curriculum next school year.

The guild will recruit at least five artist members to help.

“The artists and the teachers will share their plans so that every opportunity to cross-pollinate learning is leveraged,” Hutchinson said.

Currently, all Van Buren students receive one hour of art instruction each week.

Over the 10 months of the school year, additional semi-monthly artistic experiences will be incorporated in the classroom, the release said.

Teachers, administrators and artists will participate in a planning session before the program starts next school year.

For artists, the training will focus on age-appropriate learning and state standards.

Teachers will learn about fine arts that can be integrated into the art classroom and in other subjects.

The artists also will help teachers learn new hands-on activities related to the fine arts that will increase learning in a variety of areas, the release states.

When the grant opportunity was announced by the Brown County Community Foundation, Superintendent David Shaffer approached Principal Christy Wrightsman about applying.

“Brown County has advocated for leaving the ‘A’ for ‘art’ in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) acronym to form STEAM,” Wrightsman said.

A STEM education is intended to develop students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics areas. The Indiana Department of Education began developing STEM programs in 2012.

The STEAM initiative advocates for adding art and design to those focuses to drive innovation.

The PACE grant program may expand to second-graders in the 2017-18 school year, Wrightsman said.