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Decades later, ArtsBank still providing teaching artists

The Inter-Mountain photo by Dan Geohagan Kylie Proudfoot-Payne, head teaching artist for ArtsBank, speaks to Elkins Rotary Club members on Monday.

ELKINS — The Elkins Rotary Club learned about ArtsBank during Monday’s regular meeting.

ArtsBank is a non-profit organization which has provided art to local schools for more than a quarter of a century. Art teachers in Randolph County Schools were eliminated in 1988, and ArtsBank was formed to fill the void in 1992.

ArtsBank employs teaching artists, which is to say that the instructors are actual professional artists in their own respective area of art. ArtsBank facilitates art in every school in Randolph County, excluding Harman School, which has an art teacher. The program provides a new art theme every school year, keeping the students engaged.

“I have been happily employed with the program for the past nine years,” Kylie Proudfoot-Payne, head teaching artist for ArtsBank, told Rotarians Monday. “When I started working for ArtsBank I never imagined that I would be here for nine years but here I am.

“Each year is something different, which is why I am still here. We are always changing to adapt to what the school environment is, what the principals want and what the teachers are willing to allow us to do in the classroom.”

In the past three years, ArtsBank has begun to send two artists to the classroom as opposed to only one.

“We try intensely to build a memorable and concise experience, not only just in art but we incorporate other curriculums,” Proudfoot-Payne said. “So not only are they getting art but they are getting art through math and science, especially since we are working under a STEAM (science technology engineering art math) grant.”

The annual ArtsBank Auction will be at 6 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the Elks Lodge Restaurant. The program will begin at 7 p.m. with the grand auction beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 and will be available at the door and online as well.

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