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franklin county times

PCES establishes fine arts program

Several sixth grade students concentrate on their artwork this past Thursday in Jessica Peppers’ art class. Photo by Kellie Singleton.
Several sixth grade students concentrate on their artwork this past Thursday in Jessica Peppers’ art class. Photo by Kellie Singleton.

Oftentimes in the South, it’s typical to hear more about a school’s sports program than it is to hear about the school’s fine arts program, and many times, the fine arts programs are the first ones to suffer cutbacks when finances are tight within a school system.

But even though this may be the norm, there are still many people who recognize the importance of fine arts education and the profound impact it can have on a child’s life.

With this in mind, Phil Campbell Elementary School applied for a grant last year through the Alabama Arts Education Initiative and they were able to receive a $20,000 grant that has allowed them to be able to establish a fine arts program at their school for the very first time.

PCES principal Jackie Ergle said the grant has allowed them to begin art classes as well as a show choir and a bell choir.

“We can already see the positive effects these programs are having on our students just in the few weeks that they have been in place,” Ergle said.

“Our students are excited to go to their art class or to show choir and bells, and I think our teachers have already discovered some pretty deep talent among our students that shows a lot of promise for the kind of artist or singers these students might be in the future.”

Ergle said speech teacher Michelle Marbutt is leading the show choir and pre-k teacher Heather Fowler is leading the bell choir. Thanks to the grant, Ergle said they were able to fund a part-time art teacher, a position that went to local artist Jessica Peppers.

“This has been great so far and I can really tell the kids are getting into the art classes and being creative,” Peppers said.

“We have been learning about the color wheel and because of the season we are in, we are working on making ornaments using the things we have learned so far.”

Peppers said fine arts programs, and art classes in particular, are a great way to perfect skills and knowledge in math, reading, history, and even science.

“There are a lot of core subjects that can be tapped into through art,” Peppers said.

“Not only is coming to art class just a brain break for the kids, but it’s also a way for them to work on these skills from their core classes without really even realizing it.”

Ergle said they have so many talented athletes at their school who work on those talents through different sporting events, and she is glad they are able to now offer a little more balance and give the students who are interested in fine arts subjects a chance to work on their talents as well.

“The show choir and bell choir have already had a performance at our Veterans Day program, and they did a wonderful job,” Ergle said.

“And some of the artwork that has already been displayed has showed a lot of promise, and I know we have some naturally talented artists at our school.

“I am excited for these students to have the opportunity to work on these talents and to discover new things that they enjoy.”


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