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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.

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Looping through layers of sound with a cool new pedal

A looper pedal and related equipment for the high school orchestras were purchased through a grant from the Lowell Education Foundation...

A really big yellow chair gets new colors

Students in Tonya Woods’ independent study class will be decorating the 'Big Yellow Chair' for the village of Middleville throughout the month of March...

An explorer, a tropical island, a pineapple

The state-wide contest is in its eighth year...

WMCAT students earn high honors in art competition

Twenty-one GRPS students won 80 awards for photography and ceramics in the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards regional competition...

Dance power: helping girls ’empower themselves and be themselves’

EmpowHER ½ Hour meets once a week during recess to let young girls feel their strength through the joy of dance...

Musicians take on anything but classical

Forty-four students become immersed each morning in music styles ranging from bluegrass to alternative rock in the Anything But Classical Orchestra...

Artist speaks out against hate in competition

Four art students won top honors out of 127 competitors at the third-annual Cedar Springs High School Art Competition...

Students supplement learning with ballet, clay creatures & Billie Holiday

A grant-funded partnership between Brookside Elementary and the Salvation Army Kroc Center sees third, fourth and fifth grade students make a trek twice a week through their backyard for classes in ballet, clay and jazz...

Third graders learn to listen — with help from drums, other noisemakers

Students from schools throughout West Michigan get introduced to the big world of percussion instruments through presentations by Bill Vits, principal percussionist for the Grand Rapids Symphony...

‘Doing art well is what matters’

A young artist took home a national award and has pledged to put his winnings toward his family’s future home...

Creating a picture of community and kindness

Students’ drawings were incorporated by artist Mary Bent-Buist into a mural expressing a moving message: 'One kind word can change someone’s entire story'...

Fourth graders from across city cross lines with pictures on ‘Flexible Fence’

A collaboration of GRPS, artist Eliza Fernand, ArtPrize and PNC Bank, the 6-foot-high 'Flexible Fence' features more than 1,000 pictures by fourth graders from 26 schools...

Thanks to dedicated artists, city snowplows will be hard to miss

Over the past couple weeks, art teachers led third and fourth graders from all three elementary schools in decorating a trio of city snowplow blades...

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...
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