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Camden High receives Distinguished Arts Program Grant

Posted: October 16, 2014 5:23 p.m.
Updated: October 17, 2014 1:00 a.m.
Provided by CHS/

Marti Wallace with one of her students, Charles Tucker, in Camden High School’s art room.

Camden High School (CHS) is enjoying an award-winning 2014. Aside from being named a “Palmetto’s Finest School,” CHS also received a Distinguished Arts Program Grant for a project titled “Commitment to Excellence in the Arts.” It is the first grant of its kind to be awarded to a Kershaw County school.


The process to request the grant began a few months before CHS received an award for excellence in academics.


“We wanted to raise the bar for our arts programs,” CHS art teacher Marti Wallace said.


A planning committee of parents, teachers, business leaders, artists, administrators and other members of the community formed in fall 2013 to decide what activities the grant would include and how much money would be needed to fund them.


The committee agreed some of the main objectives would include: improving the quality of existing arts programs, training arts specialists and teachers to integrate arts across the curriculum and contracting residencies to promote and build a dance education program. Enhancing visual arts and extending arts to special needs students are also key components.


CHS learned it obtained approval for the grant a little more than a month after the new school year began. All involved said they were pleasantly surprised the S.C. Department of Education offered $18,000 -- the full requested amount.


“As a Camden High graduate myself, I feel at home and I am excited that I have this opportunity to offer my very best to students with the help of this grant through the work of our arts committee,” Wallace said.


According to Wallace, the first order of business is to develop a dance team. Dancers from Martha Connection/Kinetic Works Dance Company in Charlotte will visit this year to perform for and work with students.


“We plan to keep building the dance time frame each semester and eventually offer a part-time position for a dance instructor,” Wallace said.


A large part of the grant will be used to send students to state development-approved art institutions. Eventually, teachers will also have the opportunity to attend summer art programs to provide them with ideas to use in their own classrooms.

The grant will also fund an indoor music percussion ensemble for the music department, supplies for the theatre program and equipment for a 3-D design class, coming in fall 2015.

Wallace said she hopes the grant will help the arts flourish at CHS.

“I would like us to be the model for a distinguished arts program in three years,” Wallace said.

In order to continue building the arts program during the next couple of years, the committee plans to reapply for the grant, asking for help funding different art-related activities.


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