Albemarle Parents Form Nonprofit to Fund Art Education

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Parents in one part of Albemarle County are getting creative to help students get their creative juices flowing. They formed a nonprofit to fill the funding void in arts programs where county tax dollars fall short.

Arts in Western Education (AWE) is a new nonprofit formed by parents of the six western feeder schools to support arts in the classroom. The group is hosting ArtFest in the West Saturday at Western Albemarle High School to showcase student talent and raise funds.

The community donated $6,000 to arts programs at the four elementary schools, Henley Middle, and Western after last year's inaugural ArtFest.

Parents decided to turn that success into an official tax-deductible charity this year. They're collecting donations to boost the classroom arts and inspire student creativity through these tough county budget times.

“We want to celebrate the arts. We want to educate the community about how important the arts are for our children and show off the talents,” said Skye O’Donnell, co-president of AWE.

“It's just cool to share your artwork with other people and get to see other people's artwork and how they think about things,” said Emma Bittle, an eight-grade student at Henley Middle School.

The ArtFest in the West will include a preview performance of the high school's "Footloose" musical.

AWE hopes to start offering grants that teachers in the arts can apply for at the six western schools. To donate, click here.

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