How Schools in McLennan County, TX Incorporate Creative Arts into Their Curriculum

A comprehensive education should include the creative arts (music, dance, theater, visual arts, literature, cinema). These art forms are essential for fostering creativity, innovation and self-confidence - all of which are key skills for the 21st century workforce. Studies have shown that art education can reach students who don't learn well with traditional methods, stimulating an interest in learning and improving academic performance. Additionally, increased school attendance, civic engagement and decreased antisocial behavior have been linked to art education.

The Texas Arts Commission (TCA) can help schools incorporate the arts into their curricula in a variety of ways. For example, students can participate in service projects and school presentations throughout the year. Recently, Vanguard College Preparatory School students competed in the 12 VASE regional art competition in Harker Heights, Texas. They also had the opportunity to showcase their works of art to the Waco community through a local art exhibition.

The TCA can also connect schools with arts organizations in their community that may be able to offer arts programs. The Visual Arts Academic Event is another way to recognize students' exemplary achievements in the visual arts by providing them with a standard of excellence to strive for. During this event, students will meet with a judge to discuss their work and take part in enjoyable art workshops. They will build on what they learned in Art I classes by creating more advanced pieces of art using a variety of artistic creation processes.

It is important to teach students the rules of interaction at creative arts events so that they can become lifelong supporters of the arts. As an example, at an elementary school in Kodiak, Alaska, a group of students demonstrated their understanding of the metamorphosis of a butterfly. The key to successful integration of the arts is to teach music, theater and visual arts together with thematic concepts across all disciplines. The North Texas Institute for Visual Arts Educators (NTIEVA) has been providing quality professional development experiences for a wide variety of audiences for over 15 years.

This includes comprehensive art education, museum education, technology training, arts promotion and leadership development. The Institute for Artistic Integration and STEAM (IAS) suggests using the arts to teach and evaluate content standards in an equitable manner. Squish, Scribble, Splat is a great class for young children to explore art through sensory experiences. The creative arts experience requirement was initially introduced as an alternative to more traditional fine art academic requirements.

Advanced performing arts students also write plays for the Vanguard children's theater summer camp. As an academic requirement, guest teachers or artists must be an integral part of any creative arts event.