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By Kandice Lanham
Marion County's middle schools will celebrate Arts & Humanities Day during the New Harmonies Smithsonian exhibit from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 29, at Centre Square. The showcase will feature visual arts, dance and a combined band and chorus performance by Lebanon and St. Charles middle schools. The theme will be Kentucky folklore, using different genres of music. A final performance will be at 6 p.m.
It is evident that the arts are an important factor in the development of an individual's full potential. Studies have proven this over and over. According to Sandra Ruppert, "Students who participate in arts learning experiences often improve their achievement in other realms of learning and life. In a well-documented national study using a federal database of over 25,000 middle and high school students, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found students with high arts involvement performed better on standardized achievement tests than students with low arts involvement. Students who took four years of arts coursework outperformed their peers who had one half-year or less of arts coursework by 58 points on SAT scores. Moreover, the high art-involved students also watched fewer hours of TV, participated in more community service and reported less boredom in school." (Critical Evidence, 2006)
The arts invite us to be active participants in our world rather than mere observers of it. The arts impulse creative thinking and imagining, problem solving and self-expression. It is so rewarding to me, as a local music teacher to see how our community of Marion County and our school district give our young people opportunities to experience and continue to engage in the arts. These opportunities provide unique and multiple ways of exploring, forming, expressing, communicating and understanding their own and other's ideas and feelings. The procedures within the arts can contribute to the development of the potential of the whole child. The arts are inspiring to individuals of all ages; therefore, they need to continue to be represented in our community of Marion County and our schools.