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State of the Arts

Educators have long recognized the value of music, art, drama and writing for students' creative development and academic success. Yet the arts remain squeezed by tight budgets and test-driven performance standards. This series highlights efforts to protect and promote school arts programs.

SmartArt competition winner finds inspiration in art, science classes

C.A. Frost Environmental Science Academy junior Cindy Mazariegos-Barrios was so sure she wasn't going to win the 2019 SmartArt competition, she forgot to mention the big event where they announced the winner to her parents. Oops...

Not one, but two local high school bands to play Detroit Jazz Fest

The pair of West Michigan jazz bands will be two of just six high school ensembles to play at the internationally renowned four-day festival, in its 40th year...

Students learn skills the fun way: making music

A group of Alto Elementary students took part in 10 one-hour sessions with a music therapist at the Franciscan Life Process Center, thanks to a grant from the Lowell Education Foundation...

Young actor headed to Big Apple stage

Eric Liu qualified for a national musical theater competition by being named Best Leading Actor in the state of Michigan at the Sutton Foster Ovation Awards at the Wharton Center in East Lansing...

‘From absolutely nothing to this full production’

It was three months before the spring play. There was no script and no plot, just the shadow of personalities students would soon embody as their own creations...

GRCC to host summer camp with musicians who mash classical, popular genres

ESME band members are challenging middle and high school students to blend modern and classical music during intensive summer experience...

Local students recognized nationally for innovative artworks

Three students from Kent ISD high schools were awarded Gold Medals for their art entries in the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards...

Creating their own Christmas story

Fifth grade students at Pine Island Elementary put their acting skills to work for Christmas play...
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Frosty the Snowman, in concert

Students from Kettle Lake Elementary in Caledonia sing "Frosty the Snowman" in English and Spanish, from their recent holiday concert...

Catch a falling star & put it in your heart

In a visit to Valley View Elementary School, Patricia Polacco, the award-winning author of over 100 children’s books, told students a true story about wishing on a falling star -- or wishing for a better world...

On fire for choir

When one elementary music teacher had a little extra time in her schedule, she knew there was only one thing to do: start a school choir...

‘Holy hot course, Batman!’

Students at Wyoming High School dig into graphic novels as a way to scratch their itch for good stories combined with eye-catching art...

‘She will fill your bucket if you are empty’

This art teacher provides a solid skill base, then encourages her students to infuse their work with elements of their own lives. And she shares her own, which she says creates a safe space for them to reflect...

Students express selves through words, drawings, and their own hands

Susan Langford’s studio art students made old-fashioned casts of their hands. They posed them to convey one or more concepts, then added their own drawing and words. The results were profound...

She chose music over medicine, and her students are glad she did

Wendy Tenney Tenney is one of 10 Michigan educators who were named as 2018-19 Regional Teachers of the Year...

Haunting photo of ‘classy’ young woman takes top prize in Congressional competition

Nick Ensing’s photo “Classy,” taken of his good friend Mariah Jennings, was named grand prize winner and will hang in the U.S. Capitol for a year
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