PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - One Phenix City elementary school’s relaunched visual arts program is getting some help. Ridgecrest Elementary School is being awarded tens of thousands of dollars in grant money for their visual arts and music program.
A Ridgecrest visual arts and music teacher said the $20,000 will allow her students to have more supplies. She said when she started teaching at Ridgecrest, it barely had any materials for her class.
Judy Stone, who’s been an art teacher for years, said visual arts and music programs work on a strained budget.
“When I go into the classroom, I like to try to introduce them to different mediums, so that’s hard," Stone said. "Paper alone cost most of the budget.”
She said Ridgecrest barely had any art supplies when she started teaching there three years ago. Stone said all she had to work with were crayons and construction paper.
“Some kids are really intense at academics and the arts really help to level the playing field at times,” Stone said. "It relaxes them. It’s supposed to take their mind away and let them have a fresh outlook when they go back to class.” The Alabama Arts Education Initiative’s $20,000 grant will go toward art supplies, furniture for the art classes, and materials that can be incorporated into other classrooms as well.
“Life isn’t just a class," said Julie Norden with Phenix City Schools."You know the whole child, that has many components to that. I think that’s what is important is that the grant allows for arts across the curricular.”
Phenix City Schools said the visual arts and music program benefits students in a variety of ways.
“So the other value to it is that it allows students that normally might struggle academically or haven’t found their place to shine because they have hands on opportunities that they wouldn’t have had before,” Norden said.
Stone said she hopes this grant will make her classroom feel like a studio.
“If you play sports you’re on a field, you play with a uniform, you have certain equipment," Stone said. "And I think these kids need to experience the arts in that way too.”
Phenix City Schools said the first installment of the grant will come in April and kids will start reaping the benefits in the 2019-2020 school year.