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Rotarians learn about the mission of ArtsBank

February 25, 2011
By Wayne Sheets, Contributing Business Writer

Members of the Rotary Club of Elkins learned about the mission of the Randolph County ArtsBank at their weekly luncheon Monday.

ArtsBank President Scottie Wiest introduced ArtsBank Coordinator Bill McWhorter, who talked about the importance of art in public schools. He also assured the luncheon participants that all of the excess levy money budgeted for ArtsBank will be spent on projects in the classrooms for the students. He also addressed the need for continued fundraising efforts that are necessary for the administrative costs and other organizational expenses.

"We need to continue our fundraising efforts to administer the program," McWhorter said. "While levy monies will go toward providing more supplies and teachers in the classroom, we continue to need money to run the program."

Article Photos

A?DISCUSSION?ON?ARTS?EDUCATION — ArtsBank Coordinator Bill McWhorter, center, addresses members of the Rotary Club of Elkins at their weekly luncheon on Monday. Joining the presentation were teaching artist Kadra Casseday, left, and ArtsBank President Scottie Wiest. (The Inter-Mountain/Wayne Sheets)

The ArtsBank program began in 1992 after a group of parents and educators at Midland Elementary School came together to see if they could expand arts enrichment to all the elementary schools in the county.

Concerned parents, teachers, administrators and many volunteers formed ArtsBank Inc., a nonprofit corporation with a mission to expand and enrich the arts experiences of elementary school children, while promoting artists and advocating for the importance of arts education and art.

McWhorter said that the organization is expanding its arts teaching activities to include some private schools in Randolph County as well giving all children an opportunity to learn the art of painting and art appreciation. The ArtsBank program assigns professional artists to residencies in the county schools, providing instruction in a variety of media according to the skill of the artist.

Artists direct special arts projects in collaboration with the art teachers and the regular classroom teachers to provide more in-depth experiences for the students.

Both teachers and students will have a broader skill level and appreciation of art as a result of the ArtsBank program.

Kadra Casseday, a professional artist with a studio in Elkins, shared some of her experiences as a teaching artist in classrooms at George Ward and Valley Head elementary schools.

"Our program, developed for grades K-5, will take students on an adventure from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Katahdin in Maine and everywhere in between with a special focus on West Virginia's Appalachian heritage," she said. "While studying illustrations and text from selected books, each student will begin to understand more about the plants, animals, geography and culture of the communities along the Appalachian Trail while working with a variety of visual arts media including painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, watercolor, crayon, clay sculpture and textiles."

The annual ArtsBank auction, a gala fundraising event, will be at Orchard Hall on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The ArtsBank office is located in Room 17 in the Board of Education office on 11th Street in Elkins. The phone number is 304-636-9150, ext. 127, and the website address where you may leave messages at the "contact us" page. Its mailing address is P.O. Box 1933, Elkins, West Virginia 26241.

The Rotary Club gained a new member on Monday when Rotary President Pat Schoonover initiated Matt Davis. Davis was sponsored by Rotarian Merllene Yorkey.

The annual "Fun Night" will take place at 6:30 p.m. March 12 at the National Guard Armory. This year's theme is Mardi Gras. Food, provided by Fine Foods Catering Service, will be available throughout the evening.

In addition to dining, activities include dancing to the music of a DJ, a live auction, a silent auction and several of those present will win cash prizes.

Rotarian Bill Johnson will serve as auctioneer.

Tickets are available from any Rotarian and may be purchased by calling Richard Holland at 304-216-2838 or Steve Sherrard at 304-614-3171.



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