Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy promotes learning through fine arts

Greg Loyd - COLUMBUS, Ga- On the Education Watch—if you really want to ignite the passion of children, teach them through the fine arts.  That's a lesson the educators at one Columbus elementary school have learned and continue to share with their students. Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy uses the arts to make learning coming to life.

It's the type of learning that actively engages.  It's interactive experiments that no textbook can offer.  Welcome to Fine Arts Day at Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy.

"We learn many things like art, music, and other things, about other people from other states and countries," says one student.

"What we do is we paint the rocks. We hide them out in the community for people to find, and it's all about spreading kindness and art  into the community," says Rachael White, co-founder of Spark Art, who participated in Fine Arts Day by painting with the children.  "It's putting a little piece of yourself out into the community in hopes of brightening someone's day."

"I think it's kind of artistic and it's kind of creative. You're basically coloring a part of the world," says one student painting the rocks.

"I was thinking like of a rainbow," says another student of her multi-colored, painted rock.

"Some children like to put their hands on instruments.  Some children like to act it out," says Linsday Tassoni, fourth grade teacher and organizer of Fine Arts Day.  "So, it's a chance for them to, once again, be themselves and to let education come to life through art."

"This is our second year of having fine arts," says Dr. Tujuana Wiggins, principal of Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy. "Last year, we had Fine Arts Day at the RiverCenter, where they had different stations and activities for us.  And this year, the RiverCenter came to us."

"If you use arts to teach every day subjects, they learn faster and retain more. It's just a point of fact," says Rick McKnight, director of education at RiverCenter. "Watching their face, watching the little girl who just ran down the hall, and saw me, and jumped in my arms.  There's nothing to beat it. To see that curtain pulled back, and a child, they get it! It shows them the possibilities."

This is the second annual Fine Arts Day at Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy. School leaders say they plan to keep it a yearly tradition in partnership with the RiverCenter and local artists.

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