What is often one of the first things to be cut from a school budget? The arts. Movies like High School Musical can be misleading with its elaborate set designs and 100+ person choreographed dance numbers. Unfortunately, many schools cannot afford that level of production. But there are arts organizations in Huntsville that work diligently to bring the arts to under-served schools. These kids might not have access to the arts otherwise, so let’s give thanks to the following Arts Huntsville members:

Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theatre

Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theatre has numerous programs to get students involved in theatre. Their “Adopt a School” program creates a custom designed 12-week drama program for a school’s theatre class. The program helps school create a musical or play along with supporting in sound and costumes. For more information visit their website.

The Playhouse also actively solicits grants, private, and foundation funding so theatre arts education opportunities are offered to students. Did I mention the program is free of charge? The Playhouse is currently partnering with Ridgecrest Elementary, Lynn Fanning Elementary, Second Mile Development Preschool, and they hope to partner with other schools soon.

Alabama Youth Ballet Theatre

Alabama Youth Ballet Theatre (AYBT) holds lectures and demonstrations on the art of dance. The lessons are tailored to what the school or organization needs and can coincide with the school’s curriculum. Through teaching dance, students can also learn about history, costuming, storytelling methods, orchestral music, choreography, and so much more. AYBT also books mini-performances upon request. For more information, call their office at 256-881-5930.

Huntsville Community Drumline

Huntsville Community Drumline is North Alabama’s music center for percussion lessons in every level in grades 3-5. In addition to lessons offered at the center, Huntsville Community Drumline visits neighboring schools (like Sonnie Hereford Elementary and Montview Elementary) that don’t have access to music classes. The program is 8 weeks long and the students practice about 1-2 hours after school on weekdays.
This program enriches the lives of students who might not have the opportunity to participate in the arts. They might not have access to music for various reasons, whether it be because of expense or a lack of resources. The main goal is to help children build a bright future and become productive members of society. Not only is the Drumline an activity that instills a sense of teamwork, motivation, and leadership to the students who participate, but it also offers students performance opportunities that could lead to college scholarships. For more information, please contact their office at 256-430-5566.

Huntsville Ballet Company

Huntsville Ballet Company’s “Discover Dance” program provides lessons and workshops to students and teachers in local public  schools. Through the program, students gain kinesthetic learning skills and the importance of arts integration. Huntsville Ballet Company even offers annual scholarships to students who show a passionate interest in dance and want to continue their dance education. Huntsville Ballet Company hopes to continue spreading interest in dance and providing opportunities for dance education to under-served schools in our community. If you’d like more information on Huntsville Ballet Company’s Education and Outreach programs, please contact Cathy Curry at 256-539-0961.

Huntsville Literary Association

Huntsville Literary Association supports the high school writing contest Poetry Out Loud. Every year, the state championship is held in Montgomery, AL in February and the state winner competes nationally in Washington, D.C. The poetry competition improves students’ public speaking skills and self-confidence. The best part is that the national champion wins a $20,000 college scholarship.

High school teachers who want their class to participate, must register by September 15. Please email diana.green@arts.alabama.gov for more details. Once teachers have registered, teachers will be provided with standard-based class materials. There’s no charge to participate.

Of course, these are not the only arts organizations working to increase accessibility to the arts for all ages, incomes and abilities. Download our FREE Arts Education Resource Guide to learn about more than 55 organizations’ arts education programming in and out of the classroom.

Sarah Haidar, Marketing & PR Intern

About the Author:

Sarah Haidar is a student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville studying English and Marketing. She is also a Marketing & PR Intern at Arts Huntsville and a writer for the Hampton Cove and Clift’s Cove Neighborhood magazines. She’s a 21-year-old who loves writing, learning about new cultures, and petting cats. She hopes to help advocate for girls’ education in the future.