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FAC’s School Arts Program wraps up its 32nd year

Posted: May 3, 2013 3:56 p.m.
Updated: May 6, 2013 5:00 a.m.

For more than 30 years, the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County (FAC) has collaborated with regional artists and the Kershaw County School District (KCSD) to bring professional artists into the district to perform, inspire and teach. This history includes implementing Arts in Education grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission since 1983.

The partnership between the FAC and KCSD began in 1980 with a pilot program funded by the Camden Music association (CMA), one of the founding clubs of the FAC, and the Camden Junior Welfare League.

The School Arts Development project provided music and theatre performances throughout the school district in 1980-81. In 1981-82, the school board approved funding for the School Arts Program and has continued funding since that time.

In addition to school residencies, School Arts provides students and teachers opportunities to attend performances by professional music, theatre and dance artists. The partnership also includes the Arts Arising program for gifted students in grades 3-6, and before recent budget cuts, the Arts Scholars programs for grades 7-10. The FAC also provides arts integration professional development for classroom teachers as the KCSD requests. The recent School Arts Month juried art exhibit is also a project of the partnership.

This year, the School Arts Performance Series brought in Blues in the Schools, a taste of blues featuring artists from the Carolina Downhome Blues Festival; a chamber music performance by Edward Arron and Friends; "Sticks and Stones," a theatre production by Porkchop Productions related to the hot topic of bullying; a Black History Month production of folk stories and lore by Roni Caw as "The Griot,"an African storyteller, who brought to the schools tales that enhanced good character traits, supported school anti-bullying and anti-violence programs, and taught life lessons about multi-cultural communication, and cultural diversity; and Holiday Celebrations Around the World presented by the Columbia City Ballet.

One or more of these performances were attended by KCSD students grade K-12 this past year.

Artists in Residence this year included: Charlie Story, harmonica player who provided more than 100 of Brian Heyward’s music students at Stover Middle School a hands-on musical workshop on playing the harmonica; Mickey (Robert) McMasters, a woodworker, sculptor and graphic artist worked with Marti Wallace’s art students at Camden High; Jeri Burdick, printmaker, clay artist and painter worked with Holly Stiles’ art students at Lugoff-Elgin Middle School in designing and creating wall tiles which will be hung at the school; Maurice A. Middleton, vocalist/pianist worked with the choral students of Sandy Pace at Camden Middle; Mary Walker taught several print making techniques to Leslie Pate’s art students at North Central Middle; and Millie Chaplin brought her love of storytelling, puppetry, dress-up and her knowledge of Colonial life to the students at Bethune Elementary School.

The School Arts Program is funded in part by the Frederick S. Upton Foundation, the Kershaw County School District and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Proceeds from the School Arts Performance Series benefit the School Arts Residency Program unless otherwise noted.

For more information, call the FAC at 425-7676, ext. 300, or visit the FAC at 810 Lyttleton St. in Camden. Office hours are Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Thursday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

The Fine Arts Center is funded in part by the Frederick S. Upton Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Additional funding provided by the City of Camden, Kershaw County, and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina along with donations from businesses and individuals.

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