Students at Wendell Elementary benefit enormously from a focus on the arts at the GT magnet elementary school. Though that focus runs adrift as the students enter middle and high school, those formative years give students a chance to experiement with the arts and find creative outlets for their own talents and skills.
Thanks to a grant from the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, students at Wendell Elementary and four other Wake County elementary schools had a chance to see professional artists exercising their craft when they went to see a whittled-down version of “The Nutcracker.”
The ballet may not be everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to exposing themselves to the arts, but there’s no denying that the ballet takes center stage around the holidays as the performers transform themselves into all the visions we can imagine at Christmastime.
And there’s no doubting the fact that the performers are highly trained athletes and artists who throw themselves into their performance.
It’s that kind of passion our young people can sense in an experience like attending the ballet. The boys may not be able to abide wearing tights in public and the girls may not all be able to pull off a well-turned piroutte, but they do learn that it takes dedication and focus to accomplish great things, whether they are in the arts or in some other educational endeavor.
Those are two of the major lessons any student learns in the arts. Trumpets don’t play themselves. Actors don’t just make up lines and stand whereever they want on stage. Painters don’t just copy images. Those art forms and any other you care to consider take effort and an education to master. And they make the practitioners of those arts more well-rounded than the student who doesn’t have the opportunity to experience a morning at the ballet.
For those reasons and many more, we would encourage our school system and county leaders to dig deep when it’s time to find money to keep the arts front and center for all our students, not just the ones who can afford it after school.