Seven schools in the Richmond region have won awards totaling $44,400 from Partners in the Arts, a program of the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies.

The awards fund cross-curricular, thematic projects that use the arts to change the way core subjects such as history, math and science are taught. The awards allow schools to bring in visiting artists to train teachers and work with students and to buy supplies to carry out the projects.

Each year, Partners in the Arts (PIA) awards up to $10,000 each to schools in the greater Richmond area whose teachers develop competitive and sustainable arts integration projects. PIA Awards support projects that use a wide range of art forms, including visual, performing and digital arts and creative writing, to teach the preK-12 curriculum. Projects are designed to make lasting changes in how the curriculum is taught and to build students’ 21st century skills, including innovation, collaboration and critical thinking.

Workshops at the 2013 Joan Oates Institute, held this summer at the Modlin Center for the Arts, emphasized creativity, its importance to learning, and how teachers can ignite the creative process in themselves and their students. The institute is part of a University of Richmond course that can be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit and provides teachers with leading-edge theory and hand-on methods for using the arts across the curriculum. Projects developed by teachers at the Joan Oates Institute may form the basis for proposals submitted for PIA Awards, while award recipients for the coming year have the opportunity at the institute to refine their projects and closely plan their implementation.

The following schools have received awards from Partners in the Arts for 2013-2014.

Jacobs Road Elementary School, Chesterfield, was awarded $4,500 for Words Alive: Bringing Meaning to Words. The project integrates language arts, music, visual art, and physical education to improve students’ reading and writing by increasing their vocabulary. Students in grades three through five will learn new vocabulary through art, music and movement, creating a multisensory connection between words, reading, and writing.

Patrick Henry High School, Hanover, was awarded $3,200 for Light through Glass, a project for ninth through twelfth graders that integrates science, photography and fine arts. Students will learn the chemical properties and processes of glass and explore the role of glass and minerals in mythology and art. Students will create their own glass art using these sources for imagery and design.

Jacob L. Adams Elementary School, Henrico, was awarded $7,800 for Always Experiencing Social Studies, a project for second through fourth graders that integrates social studies, music, and theatre. Native American and African dance and drumming techniques and visits to museums featuring the art of these cultures will be used to teach the social studies curriculum, with the goal of increasing student engagement and their understanding of cultural diversity.

Longdale Elementary School, Henrico, was awarded $9,900 for Virginia’s First People, a collaborative project with Ward Elementary School. Working with artists of the Pamunkey tribe and visiting their reservation, PreK through fifth grade students will gain a deeper understanding of the history, culture and environment of Eastern Woodlands Native Americans. They will reflect on what they have learned by creating stories, songs, and simple forms of Pamunkey art.

Martin Luther King Preschool at Mary Scott School, Richmond, was awarded $4,500 for Integrating the Arts with PreK Students, which uses visual art, writing, and movement to enhance early literacy and number skills. The project’s theme is My Family, My Community.  Families will participate through art activities in the school, journaling at home with their students, and helping to stage a culminating performance.  

Binford Middle School, Richmond, was awarded $5,200 for Transformation: Art Can Change the World, a project for sixth through eighth graders that integrates language arts, history, earth science and math with the arts. Student will create a literary magazine, self-portraits with words, and a school mural with the theme of Transformation. The project’s goal is to increase students’ positive perceptions of middle school through individual and collective creative expression.

Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts was awarded $9,300 for Experiencing Environmental Stewardship through the Arts, a project for elementary school students that integrates science, writing, photography, theatre, and sculpture. Throughout the year, students will learn about the ecology and history of the nearby Reedy Creek and its watershed and represent these through visual arts, writing, and performance.