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Art in the Schools program is welcomed in Edmond

The Edmond Fine Arts Institute provides art instruction for third- and fourth-graders.
BY STEVE GUST Modified: December 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm •  Published: January 1, 2013

— An ongoing effort by a private arts group means more than 2,000 Edmond elementary students will be exposed to the creativity and fun offered by art.

It's called Art in the Schools, and it's sponsored by the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond. Without the arts institute's participation, it's unlikely third- and fourth-graders at Ida Freeman, Orvis Riser, Northern Hills, Charles Haskell, Sunset, John Ross, Will Rogers and Angie Debo schools would have the instruction.

“Art in schools is a value for our schools involved in the FAI program as well as for the district,” said Lynn Rowley, executive director of elementary education for Edmond schools. “It provides our schools with art instruction that we would not be able to provide otherwise.”

Fine Arts Institute director Mitzi Hancuff said the program has been in place more than 10 years, after getting its start with a 1998 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. That grant was to review the cultural needs of the community, Hancuff said, and revealed a need for art for elementary students.

Today the program costs about $7,000 per school, and the Fine Arts Institute relies on help from individuals and businesses. Last month, Walmart donated $5,000.

Hancuff said the program been worthwhile.

“Test scores improved as many of the disciplines in the arts carried over to academics,” she said.

Teachers and students don't have to be sold on having art in the classroom. They treasure it.

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