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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.

Linda Nelson, violinist with the Grand Rapids Symphony, shows Meeah Fisher how to hold a bow

Students Play a Happy Tune with Symphony Pros

The three strings musicians who visited Pine Island Elementary this week didn't have to do a whole song and dance to hold the attention of teacher Wendy Hawes' fourth-graders. The songs were enough. Jonathan Copsey's hand shot up during the...

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...

Building a Band Program, From Squeaks to Symphonic

If you talk to a sixth-grader or a high school senior from Kent City's band program, you will hear a similar story. For first-chair saxophonist and senior Zach Carlson, it began in elementary school during recess. "I would ask my...

Director takes joy in teaching student musicians, ‘to see what they can do and...

Band director Greg Wells grew up as part of Northview’s proud tradition, in a family of music educators, and feels honored to carry it on

Students Jam On, with Plenty of Moxie

Forest Hills Eastern High orchestra students joined forces recently with The Moxie Strings for a night of upbeat contemporary music. But before they did, they spent time jamming together at school. Moxies violinist Diana Ladio and Alison Lynn on electric...

Art Walk Homage to Award-winning Artists

At Century Park Learning Center, a riot of color swirling like a Chihuly tangle of glass sprouted all over the school. The inspiration for students: picture book illustrations found in Caldecott winners. Rainbow-beaked birds like toucans dangled overhead, like Richard...
Students in art teacher Debra Kreuyer’s interior design class create spheres that are attached for a collaborative group mural called the Legacy Project

Students Leave a Legacy to Last, in Clay

By making hundreds of clay tiles utilizing form, line, shape and texture, high school students unleashed their creativity in creating a hallway mural

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...

An Arts School Takes the Stage

Baton in hand, Jaeda Selden led fellow second-graders Kamellah Kidd and Lizzariah Robertson in practicing a song from “The Wiz.” Taking a break for a reporter, they chatted excitedly about the hit musical they would soon present on the...
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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...

Settling Conflict by Settling Minds with Connective Art

With colorful petals radiating from a bright orange center, the mandala Circle of Art rug represents the universe and all its connectivity. For members of the high school's National Art Honor Society, it's also a way of connecting with a...

‘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...

‘It’s Incredible, the Opportunities We Get’

Jazz at Byron Center High School has always been about swinging hard and playing big, and hitting the smooth, cool notes just right. So too at Northview High. But it's not about earning a grade or even competing for band...

Make Art, Then Prosper

When Tricia Erickson was a little girl, her mother found her drawing pictures of Yogi Bear and his cartoon friends Tricia watched on TV. Struck by how accurate the drawings were, her mom asked, “You drew these from figures...

Student mural takes learning out to the hall

When the the art class moved into new semester, students who preferred painting to other media took to decorating the hallways

At Home on the Range

"Zinga, zinga, zinga, zoo." "Higher ... now higher ... still higher," said vocal teacher Linda Tata. The boys repeated the melodic phrase in higher and higher tones -- and then lower and lower -- until each reached the end of his...
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