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Board meets to discuss art grant

Pike County High School has received a $30,000 Art Pilot Grant and an art advisory board has been selected to oversee the implementation of the grant.

The board met last week at the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Libray and Betsy Coley, director of the Alabama Alliance for the Arts instructed the board on the Community Audit for Arts Education.

Coley explained the purpose of the audit and gave a history of its background.

Sylvia Helms,

coordinator of the art education pilot grant, said the audit document helps the board to identify informed leadership, to know where the arts education program is and to decide where the board would like the program to be.

"What we did at the meeting was to figure out what our strengths and weaknesses are, both at school and in the community," Helms said. "Although we have good leadership, that's a plus but, maybe we don't have to tools we need to implement the programs we need and want. We must find funds to buy the tools we need in order to achieve the goals we set."

Helms said the primary focus of the meeting was to identify the resources available to them, what they need and how to go about getting it.

"We all agreed that we have people in the community who are very interested in doing things with the school and for the school," Helms said. "We also agreed that we have students in the school with talent to contribute to the community. However, the school doesn't know what the community needs and the community doesn't know that the school has students who can help meet those needs."

For example, Helms said the town has a community theater and there are students at the school who would probably like to be involved in the productions.

"Many times, it's just a matter of communication," Helms said. "The school and the community can both benefit from what the other has to offer."

Informed leadership is a definite plus when beginning an arts education program.

"If the community leadership is willing to support the arts, that is a definite plus," Helms said. "We must also plan for the professional development of the faculty and staff at the high school."

Helms said several negatives in starting an arts education program were also identified.

"There is no formal plan for support of the arts and there are not enough funds to support the arts," she said. "There is just not enough local money to fund the programs we would like to implement."

Helms said the board was encouraged by the city government's willingness to allow their resources to be used to support the arts.

"Troy State University also supports us in all areas," she said. "The arts education program will provide opportunities for high levels of achievement and self-directed student improvement and encourage artistic growth

in the students and in the educators."

Helms said the Art Pilot Grant is for the purpose of help the arts education program get on

its feet.

"We will have an opportunity for a $15,000 grant next year, but the purpose of the grant is for us to be able to continue the program by standing on our own feet," Helms said.

Board members are Dr. Mark Bazzell, Terry Casey, Linda Steed, Wyman Botts, Jimmy Ramage, Jimmy Hollis, Larry Percy, Charles Coon, Laura Givins, Don Crapps, Lenny Trawick, Jaine Treadwell, Keon Simmons and Shala Ahmad.