Posted in GAP News, VISTA News

Check out the Pay it Forward Tour!

The Greenville Arts Council was thrilled to host 45 college students on an alternative spring break trip on March 17th and 18th.  The University of Minnesota students are members of the service organization Students Today, Leaders Forever and they made E.E. Bass a stop on their Pay it Forward tour.  While at E.E. Bass, the students participated in three-hour long projects that helped spruce the building up in anticipation of Greenville Honors Its Own and a busy summer slate.  Projects included painting the doors to the auditorium, weeding the garden out back and building and painting pedestals for gallery openings.  To date, the group has had over 18,000 participants who have provided over 261,000 hours of community service across the country, including over 1250 hours at E.E. Bass during their various stays.  

The project was organized by Benjamin Sheinkin, the new Americorps*VISTA with the Arts Council.  He arranged accommodations, including garnering donations from local community members Rebecca Goodman, Susan Crawford, and Hugh and Karen Lee for meals.  

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The mission of the Greenville Arts Council is to promote the rich cultural heritage of the region and stimulate and encourage cultural activities, arts appreciation, arts education, and the creative works of artists. Some of the responsibilities that help define the Greenville Arts Council as the primary promoter of the arts in our area include offering art classes to children and adults, organizing community events, presenting an ongoing series of free exhibits featuring visual artists from the area and the state, and coordinating educational programs which teach arts-integration in local schools. The Greenville Arts Partnership between the Greenville Arts Council, the Greenville Public School District and our three community arts partners, Delta Center Stage, Delta Symphony Association and the Delta Children’s Museum, is focused on full arts integration in the GPSD elementary schools. Plentiful research documents the value of the teaching in and through the arts to help students understand core academic concepts on a deep level. The partnership was the first in the state of Mississippi accepted into the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program in 2003, joining over 100 other partnerships between school districts and arts organizations across the country. The partnership provides professional development for teachers, arts experiences for students and resource and referral on arts integration issues. Professional development has been provided in two ways, through workshops with Teaching Artists from the Kennedy Touring Roster and grade-level and/or discipline-specific professional development with our local staff. We present a series of model demonstration lessons to teachers in grades K to 6, demonstrating connections between Partnership free arts programming and required state frameworks. The partner arts groups present a series of live performances allowing each elementary child in the GPSD to attend at least once each year. The groups work with the Arts Council staff to develop accompanying curriculum-based educational material for distribution to teachers prior to each performance. Over the years, we have succeeded in providing basic arts integration training district-wide as well as in-depth professional development to allow groups of teachers to increase their level of mastery.