Families Applaud Wake County Preschoolers' Skills In Art, Dance

Carolina Ballet, North Carolina Museum of Art and Wake County Public Schools Celebrate PNC Grow Up Great Arts Collaborative

Jun 01, 2013, 14:00 ET from PNC Bank

RALEIGH, N.C., June 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) was filled with activity Saturday as children from Wake County preschools demonstrated their art skills and dance techniques learned this semester through "Grow Up Great with the Arts." Funded by the PNC Foundation, the arts initiative is a collaborative effort by Carolina Ballet, NCMA and The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS). 

The $500,000, two-year program began this spring and provides arts education to more than 450 Wake County pre-K students. The program:

  • Creates new curriculum in pre-K teacher training and arts activities, including dance and movement, that will reach more children in the area
  • Affords pre-K students and their families several opportunities to visit the cultural institutions throughout the year, and
  • Places artists in pre-K classrooms where they are able to teach and share their passion for the arts

The initiative was established by PNC to introduce Wake County to PNC Grow Up Great, the company's signature $350 million, multi-year bilingual initiative to improve early childhood education.

"PNC believes that the arts have great value for children, providing the tools to promote learning and development," said Paula Fryland, PNC regional president of Eastern Carolinas. "This collaboration of Carolina Ballet, NCMA and Wake County Public Schools aims to broaden the reach of arts education to more children in our region."

The event Saturday included dance and art workshops for the children and their families, specially choreographed performances by the Carolina Ballet, an "Image Slam" showcasing the students' work from the program, and informational resources for parents enrolling their children in kindergarten this year. 

"This event allowed the families to see firsthand the value that the arts and dance bring to the educational development of our children," said Elizabeth Nida, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Jeffreys Grove Elementary.

Carolina Ballet is one of America's premier arts organizations. Launched as a professional dance company in 1997 under the direction of Artistic Director/CEO Robert Weiss, Carolina Ballet has since garnered critical praise from the national and international media, staged 90 world premiere ballets, and toured internationally in China and Hungary. Weiss, former artistic director of the Pennsylvania Ballet and principal dancer at New York City Ballet under the legendary George Balanchine, programs traditional ballets by legendary masters and new works by contemporary choreographers.

The North Carolina Museum of Art's permanent collection spans more than 5,000 years, from ancient Egypt to the present, making the institution one of the premier art museums in the South. The Museum's collection provides educational, aesthetic, intellectual, and cultural experiences for the citizens of North Carolina and beyond. The 164-acre Museum Park showcases the connection between art and nature through site-specific works of environmental art. The Museum offers changing national touring exhibitions, classes, lectures, family activities, films, and concerts.   The Museum opened West Building, home to the permanent collection, in 2010. The North Carolina Museum of Art, Lawrence J. Wheeler, director, is located at 2110 Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh. It is the art museum of the State of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, governor, and an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, Susan W. Kluttz, secretary.

The Wake County Public School System is the largest district in North Carolina and the 16th largest nationally.  The school system educates 150,000 students in Pre-K – 12th grade in 169 schools.

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.  For more information, please visit www.pncgrowupgreat.com and www.youtube.com/PNC or follow @PNCGrowUpGreat on Twitter.

Dorsey Tobias
(919) 788-6272