Piute County School District celebrates art, raises funds for art supplies

Elementary students from the Piute County School District showcase their art during the first annual "District Art Event" held at the Circleville Community Center, Circlevlle, Utah, April 13, 2016 | Photo by Corey McNeil, St. George News

CIRCLEVILLE — The Circleville Community Center, 300 S. Center Street in Circleville, was packed with teachers, students and parents Wednesday night as the Piute County School District celebrated its “First Annual District Art Event.”

Students, teachers and parents enjoy a soup fundraiser dinner and art night at the Circleville Community Center as part of the Piute County School District's first annual "District Art Event." Circleville, Utah, April 13, 2016 | Photo by Corey McNeil, St. George News
Students, teachers and parents enjoy a soup fundraiser dinner and art night at the Circleville Community Center as part of the Piute County School District’s first annual “District Art Event.” Circleville, Utah, April 13, 2016 | Photo by Corey McNeil, St. George News

The evening showcased the artistic, music and performing arts talents of the students and raised funds for needed art supplies, including musical instruments in the district.

The two elementary schools in the Piute County School District Circleville Elementary and Oscarson Elementary are part of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program, said Jo Whittaker, the visual arts specialist for Circleville Elementary.

The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program is a statewide program in 130 elementary schools that partners highly qualified arts specialists with classroom teachers in order to bring quality visual art, music, dance and theater back into the classroom. Those programs help fulfill the Fine Arts Core Curriculum, information from the Utah Department of Education Web page states.

The program provides grants and training for the arts specialists who are considered the “know-all” instructors in their various art specialties, Whittaker said.

Elementary schools that participate in the program are required to demonstrate how important the arts are to education, Whittaker said, by incorporating art studies into the core subjects of reading, science, social studies and math. Whittaker cited a recent example of a complementary art project created by first and second grade students studying fractions in math; they constructed fraction kites and fraction pillars.

“We have been involved with the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Art Program for a few years in our district and part of that has been to facilitate the arts with a lot of our other curriculum to see if we can enhance student learning utilizing the arts as a vehicle,” said Shane Erickson, Piute County School District superintendent.

Erickson said part of the school district’s goal with the arts is to create a professional learning community that reaches throughout the district and into the community to share the students’ artistic achievements and support the art teachers in their endeavors.

The art event was seen as a celebration of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Art Learning Program as well as all the great things that happen with the arts in the Piute County School District.

Erickson was pleased with the large turnout of community members in the rural district and considered the event a great success, he said.

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