The Kentucky Arts Council is examining data gathered by two studies regarding the status of art education across the commonwealth. The studies were conducted by South Arts, an organization that represents Kentucky and eight other states. Lori Meadows is executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council.
“Arts education really contributes to the education of the whole student,” said Lori Meadows, executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council. “In other words, it teaches creative thinking skills and the ability to connect different curriculum and different subject areas together.”
The studies found that a sampling of Kentucky schools is performing at-or-above national averages when it comes to providing access to arts education. But Meadows cautions that only 27 percent of schools in the state responded to the a voluntary survey known as Phase One. But Phase Two, says Meadows, profiled an individual program that has shown success. In Kentucky’s case it was Owensboro Public Schools.
“Children in that district – the students start out and they have the ability to participate in visual art, drama, music and dance,” said Meadows. “And at that particular high school [Owensboro High School] the drama program, known as the Rose Curtain players, is the oldest high school drama program in the state.”
Meadows says community support of arts education is equally important as what is provided by school districts.
The Owensboro Public School District is planning to turn a shuttered facility into a regional career and technical education center. The district has purchased the former Texas Gas property, which includes a 160,000 square foot building.
Superintendent Nick Brake says it’s a facility that’s badly needed in Owensboro.
“We’d like everything to be aligned to the local workforce and economic needs of our community," said Dr. Brake. "We feel like it’s an ideal location for that type of activity because of its central location off the bypass and it’s accessible to all the local high schools.”
Owensboro Public Schools didn’t have to go far to find the new chief of its city school system. Nick Brake, president and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, has signed a four-year contract to lead Owensboro Public Schools.