On Monday, the Idyllwild School PTA smARTS Project received the 2017 Community Partnership Award from the Arts Schools Network, the nation’s largest professional membership organization of specialized arts schools.

Intended to recognize arts schools and businesses that implement unique artistic and educational partnerships, this award is presented to a school or business that embraces the community by utilizing the arts and education as a vehicle for fostering artistic and educational understanding and community enhancement.  The Community Partnership Award will be presented during the annual ASN Conference, Oct. 24 to 27, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The all-volunteer smARTS is a 15-year-old community-grant-funded art instruction program founded by an artist mom who wanted the children of Idyllwild to have art instruction in school after California cut arts education. Classes are taught by volunteer professional artists from the community in the areas of visual arts, theater, music, songwriting, movement and creative writing at Idyllwild School, grades K-8.

An all-volunteer smARTS committee individually/collectively administers various smARTS programs. Volunteer classroom helpers from the community support each artist-taught class. The program delivers 275 classes per school year at Idyllwild School, a K-8 Title 1 California Distinguished School.

“[The program] has grown exponentially over the last several years in the number of art classes and art experiences in all disciplines it provides Idyllwild School students,” said Christine Hunt, smARTS coordinator.

In addition, faculty and students from nearby Idyllwild Arts Academy teach regular classes.

Guest artist programming is shared between IAA and the school, and students from IAA gain teaching experience by teaching in the elementary classroom. The program has served to join all independent entities in Idyllwild: the Idyllwild Community Fund, the Art Alliance of Idyllwild, the Associates of Idyllwild Arts Foundation and the Idyllwild Arts Foundation, which operates the Academy — partnering with them all to enrich and develop this program and each other.

“In that effort, smARTS has been greatly assisted by its significantly increased partnership with the Idyllwild Arts Academy,” added Hunt, “which provides smARTS-sponsored special performances, faculty workshops and student assistance with smARTS classes for Idyllwild kids.

“We are grateful to IAA for their support. It is wonderful to have all of our collective efforts recognized and we appreciate Idyllwild Arts for nominating smARTS for this award.”

Dedicated to excellence and leadership in arts education, Arts Schools Network, a nonprofit professional organization founded in 1981, is a resource for arts school leaders, innovative partners and members of arts education institutions. Its mission is to provide leaders in arts schools with quality resources, support and networking opportunities. ASN has provided communications, programs, services, conferences and events to support these goals for more than 30 years. Visit the website at www.artsschoolsnetwork.org to learn more.