Kennedy Center helping expand arts in Hamilton County

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has spent a year checking out some of the needs of Hamilton County.

The mission is to find a way to expand arts education for kids in Kindergarten, through 8th grade.

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Last year, the Hamilton County School District was accepted into a program called “Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child.”

The program is using the existing resources of the School District, local arts and community groups, and ArtsBuild.

Rodney Van Valkenburg works with ArtsBuild.



“What we’re doing with this program is trying to make a community, have the community leaders come together just to determine how arts education can improve our community and improve student achievement.”

The last year has been about assessing where the community stands when it comes to art education.

James Dismeke is a student at Wolftever Creek Elementary School.

“Art is very important. It helps me to get my feelings out and whenever I want to draw, usually I make comics in school for some of my friends.”

It’s not just students who are excited about expanding art education in the county.

John Lennon is the Theatre Teacher at The Howard School.

“Some of us have been waiting a long time, to have a resurgence, a Renaissance of the arts in Hamilton County. And we are so ready. And we are so fueled. We know what it does. We know what theater, arts, music, we already know what it does. Now everybody else can see what it does for them and their community.”

When it comes to expanding programs, the district will be looking at all types of art, from literature, visual art, music, drama, dance, poetry, and digital media.

Jeanette McCune is the Director of Schools and Community Programs for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“We have educators all over the country who are deeply committed to children having a robust arts education station. And it happens one child at a time, One classroom at a time. And without their individual efforts none of this would be.”