North Carolina Students Affirm Role of the Arts in Schools

A new student art exhibit opened at the Department of Education’s headquarters on June 21, and its title, “Artful Expressions: From the Mountains to the Sea,” had a dual significance: On the one hand, the 60 art works on display were created by students in that number of K-12 public and private North Carolina schools, stretching from Asheville in the western, mountain region of the state to Oak Island on the Atlantic coast. And for many of the more than 175 students, family members, and teachers who attended the opening, their day before it began before dawn as they boarded a bus in the mountains and made their way towards the coast, stopping for other art exhibit goers along the way to the nation’s capital.

Nick Mills and his mother Aimee Mills Phoebe Guice and her parents

(Left) Nick Mills, who attends Winecoff Elementary School in Concord, and his mother Aimee Mills, who is the chairperson of N.C. Youth Art Month, with Nick’s “Self-Portrait.” (Right) Phoebe Guice of Providence High School in Charlotte and her parents view her work, “Monet’s Pond.” (Official Department of Education photos by Leslie Williams)


Like all Student Art Exhibit Program openings at the Department, this one featured not only the visual arts but music and dance performances as well. From young brothers Dylan and Liam Zink of Brevard, whose bluegrass offerings on violin opened the program, to Mooresville fourth-grade pianist Caden Mather’s blues numbers to a patriotic closing dance by first-grader Jodie Coble of Lumberton that reminded the audience that July 4th is just around the corner, the student performing artists and their visual artist colleagues prompted this observation from the program’s featured speaker, Arts Education Partnership Director Sandra Ruppert: “The young artists and performers … are a testament to why it is so important to ensure that a complete and competitive education includes the arts for every young person in America.”

Click here to read an ED Homeroom Blog about the exhibit opening and here for another story about it in ED’s Teaching Matters.