In a time when more and more school districts are eliminating the arts, music and art programs are thriving in the Vandalia-Butler City Schools. The work of talented students in kindergarten through eighth grade will be on exhibit Thursday, April 7 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Morton Middle School for the fourth annual Elevate the Arts, presented by the Morton Middle School PTO.
“Elevate the Arts is a program that reminds everyone that having the performing and visual arts in our schools isn’t just something extra, but an integral part of the education of our youth,” Vandalia-Butler City Schools music teacher Melinda Wissel said.
Thursday’s program will include an art exhibit in the gymnasium, featuring a gallery of more than 500 pieces of framed student work. Morton art teacher Kate Brookshire has worked with her students to produce some of the pieces on display. Brookshire sees her class as more than a chance to be creative but also increasing students’ thinking and problem solving skills.
“There are endless solutions to artistic challenges that require high levels of critical thinking and trial and error. It is important for students to learn that flexibility and perseverance in their work habits can result in innovative ideas. Art is not simply making something pretty to look it--art is a process of planning, revising and creating that builds off of students' experiences, beliefs and ideas,” Brookshire said.
In addition to the artwork, a number of students will take part in musical performances. Performers will begin taking to the stage in the auditorium at 6:30 p.m. The Morton Handbell Choir, made up of sixth to eighth graders, will also perform, including a new selection for the group entitled “Star Wars versus Harry Potter.”
“This year, people will not only see the artwork and enjoy the performances of our students, but they will be lifted up by the unique gifts the students have to offer. It provides a glimpse into the wonderful students we have, and how they make our community better by sharing who they are through their art and music,” Wissel said.
This celebration of Aviator art is free and open to the public.
“It really gives students a sense of pride to view their art and to listen to the talented musicians we have in our district. It is cool to see students and parents come together at school to support the arts!” Vandalia-Butler art teacher Kim Anderson said.