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It’s ALIVE in Fairfield County!

March 29, 2012

 This is the first of three posts that look at a few activities in South Carolina schools during Youth Arts Month. 

In Fairfield County, they call it their “Arts Alive! Festival.”  It’s multidimensional and has activities lasting throughout the spring.

 As part of this celebration, each elementary school in the district  has had artist in residence Val Zaba  introducing  the art of mosaic tile work to students.  She’s working on both interior and exterior projects that depict the school mascot in each location. Many of the schools have used the project as a starting point for integration lessons.

For example, at Fairfield Elementary School, Principal Tammy Martin has worked with her faculty to combine not only the art and science pieces of the puzzle, but to add a service learning piece. The mosaic created for the school depicts a beautiful underwater scene to showcase its mascot, the Pirate.

According to Ms. Martin, they decided to create a sea turtle mosaic and to adopt two sea turtles. Students track the turtles’ whereabouts through www.cccturtles.org.

 She supported the project because “it goes well with our theme… It is a great service learning project while connecting it to our S.C. standards for third grade as well as art projects.” In addition, she said this is a great opportunity to connect real life learning to meaningful content, making their learning relevant and fun.

Arts Coordinator for the school district, Julianne Neal, notes that this activity is supported in part by two grants: the Arts in Basic Curriculum and Distinguished Arts Program grants.Many other activities are included in this rite of spring including a high school theatre performance; students’ photo documentation of old time music and its relevance to local history at Blackstock Bluegrass Music Station ( a site for jam sessions every other Friday night!); storytelling including tales from the Appalachian Mountains with harmonicas thrown in; and a major exhibit of the Smiothsonian traveling exhibit called New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music–happening in May.

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