The annual St. Charles Parish Schools Arts Awareness Festival will be held this Saturday, serving as a reminder of the fantastic school system and community support the arts have in our parish. While in other places in the nation the arts are taking a back seat, St. Charles Parish has fortified its efforts to keep them in the forefront. The festival has grown over the years, and is expected to draw nearly 3,000 people.
Those who attend will have the opportunity to create their own visual art, as well as buy paintings and other artistic items. Theatrical selections will be performed by choirs, soloists and bands along with special presentations by wind, percussion and brass ensembles featuring students from kindergarten through high school.
Their devotion to keeping the arts an important aspect of education is likely a reason the school system has consistently received high marks and praise. The arts don’t just provide hobbies for students, as studies indicate their presence is very beneficial to overall brain development and can help sharpen necessary skills in their lives.
The arts foster creativity in children and gives them an avenue to express themselves that traditional courses simply can’t offer. It could be through song, written prose or the portrayal of an on-stage character. Encouraging creativity early in students allows them to access it more naturally in the future.
Studies indicate playing an instrument or taking up drawing early on can help a child refine his fine motor skills for later in life and accelerate development.
Another positive is some aspects of the arts promote accountability and teamwork, just as being a part of an athletic team might. An actor in a play, for example, cannot afford to disregard his on-stage responsibilities at all, as a mistake will not only affect him, but also those on stage around him and those directing the action behind the scenes.
It sharpens focus, be it upon a painting or in terms of learning a song or finishing a story. Learning lyrics, scripts, rhythms and tunes helps develop memory. The arts also lend a hand in the development of social skills; music is, after all, the universal language.
While many of these things seem obvious, it also serves to show we cannot afford to take the arts for granted. Our parish continues to show that we do anything but that here, and in our view, that puts us ahead of the curve.