By Bernie Petit
Parents, teachers and students can see up close many of the cultural experiences available to local classrooms at the Arts & Science Council (ASC) Cultural Education Expo this weekend.
The free event takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts (430 S. Tryon St., Charlotte). More than 50 teaching artists and cultural education groups will be at the expo, from Community School of the Arts to Catawba River District and from Levine Museum of the New South to Historic Rural Hill.
The event will also feature performances and demonstrations by cultural providers throughout the day, as well as a kids’ zone and food trucks on site.
The purpose of the event is to introduce local teachers and administrators to the cultural resources available through ASC’s School Grants program, which will provide up to $280,000 in total funding in 2014-15 for Mecklenburg County public, charter, independent, parochial and private schools to support cultural programming that aligns with their curriculum and helps increase student success.
“This is a very differentiated approach to cultural education,” said Dr. Barbara Ann Temple, ASC vice president of education. “Teachers can shop for and select the cultural opportunities that best align to the needs of their respective schools. And families will be able to see what their kids are going to be experiencing during the school year.”
Each school within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) is eligible for $1,500 to $2,000 each. Before the School Grants program began in 2012-13, only 83 schools within CMS received in-school cultural programming provided by professional artists, scientists, historians and other cultural providers the previous school year.
In the first year of the School Grants program, 154 of 159 CMS schools participated, resulting in cultural opportunities for students, several of whom would not have had access to them any other way.
“We know that engaging students in art, science, history and heritage is one of the best ways to help them find success in the classroom,” said ASC President Robert Bush, “so we hope that everyone who cares about student success will attend the Cultural Education Expo to learn about the resources and funding available to our schools.”