Students see benefit from TSU arts grant

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 10, 2000

Features Editor

Dec. 9, 2000 10 PM

Students in grades K through 5 in the Pike County School System continue to benefit from a comprehensive Fine Arts Partnership with Troy State University.

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This fine arts partnership between Troy State University and the Pike County School System is in its third year, and each year, interest in and enthusiasm for the partnership have increased, said Dr. David Dye, dean of communication and fine arts at Troy State."

"Troy State has invited about 900 Pike County elementary public school students to campus each of the two previous years to experience dance, theater and music," Dye said. "The project is designed to support initiatives of the State Department of Education and the Goals 2000 initiatives in providing a comprehensive arts education to Alabama’s students."

A particular focus of the project is to provide a foundation for students to learn to interpret and analyze works of art and performances.

This year, the Pike County students will, once again, be invited to the TSU campus where they will experience three programs of the arts.

"Maximum Dance," a professional ballet company from Miami will perform in the Claudia Crosby Theater Jan. 31.

On March 1, the TSU Department of Speech and Theater will perform, "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown" for the enjoyment of the students.

The final performance of this year’s Fine Arts Partnership project will be a youth concert by the TSU Symphony Band.

In addition to the on-campus experiences, the faculty of the TSU art department will work with teachers in the Pike County elementary schools o help enrich the visual arts experiences of the students.

Dye said students who have rich fine art experiences tend to do better in academic areas than students who have not had similar opportunities.

"Through the partnership between Troy State University and the Pike County schools, we are able to provide these experiences in the fine arts for very young children," Dye said.

Dye said preparing the students for these experiences and follow-up activities are the key to the real enjoyment and benefit of these experiences.

"Students need to know something about the performance before they experience it and they need to participate in follow-up activities to reinforce what they learned," he said.

The performances that the students will have an opportunity to see this year are outstanding.

The ‘Maximum Dance’ is a highly acclaimed dance group and all youngsters will enjoy their high-energy performance, Dye said.

"Children can relate to Charlie Brown, who was created by one of the great cartoonists of our times," Dye said. "The students will be captivated by Charlie Brown and his friends. And, they always enjoy the children’s concert, which is an interactive concert and the students always come away from it excited about music."

Dye said the partnership between the university and the public school system is very beneficial and should make a difference in the performance of the students in academic areas.

He expressed appreciation to those who made the grant possible: The Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and Sikorsky Support Services, Inc. and to the administrators and teachers who are working so diligently to make these fine arts opportunities valuable learning and enrichment experiences for Pike County’s youth.