DOUBLE SPRINGS - The Winston County Arts Council has received two grants, including a $5,000 grant from the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.
At a meeting of the arts council in Double Springs on Monday, chairman J.D. Snoddy announced about the grants, which officials said will help provide fine arts instruction to school children throughout Winston County.
"With these grants, the arts council's art education program is getting a much-needed boost, and the teachers are already busy preparing for the exciting 2018-19 school year," the council said in a statement released that night.
The Alabama Bicentennial Commission is involved with Alabama 200 (www.alabama200.org), the state's three-year celebration of the creation of the state on Dec. 14, 1819.
Snoddy said the $5,000 is being awarded to the arts council for a bicentennial ornaments project.
"We're going to use it for the elementary school kids across Winston County to make Christmas ornaments" with bicentennial themes," Snoddy said. "The plan is when the elementary students make Christmas ornaments, then when the towns have their Christmas parades, the children can go to the Christmas parades and hang the ornaments on the Christmas trees in the town."
Each elementary student in the county will be able to design and paint two Christmas ornaments, he said. One ornament will go to the town's Christmas tree, while another the child can take home with them, with the ornaments on display during tree lighting and holiday celebrations.
"It's an ornament shaped like the state of Alabama," he said.
They will be eventually stored and used in future holiday events, officials said.
In addition, the council was awarded the Art in Action Judy Sleeth Scholarship.
"This program is a full curriculum, including art appreciation and creative art projects for three elementary classes, with 12 lessons in each class," the press release said. "The scholarship includes a license to use the Art in Action online curriculum for one year, plus an Art Box containing all the materials needed to teach the included art lessons."
"It's going to be like $2,500 worth of materials and lesson plans," Snoddy said.
He said, "I give my wife (Theresa Snoddy) credit. She wrote the grants and did the work."
Snoddy noted Winston County Commissioner David Cummings was representing the commission. Snoddy invited the commission as that body sent two letters supporting the bicentennial grant. Snoddy also recognized state Rep. Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley, for his efforts.
The arts council also presented a $1,000 check to the Lynn Elementary School, noting the school applied for a bicentennial grant, which has not heard from the state.
"The (state) commission called and talked to me and said, 'We don't know about (Lynn's) grant yet, but we're going to give you $5,000. We know that y'all help everyone in the county. Would you mind giving $1,000 of your money to the Lynn school in case they don't get theirs, because Rep. Wadsworth had worked so hard on their grant?" Snoddy said the council would help Lynn with the $1,000.
Snoddy noted the non-profit arts council was expanding its programs to have an elementary program in Haleyville, which sent several school representatives to the meeting. Haleyville City Superintendent of Education Holly Sutherland said that system also received a $1,000 Alabama Bicentennial grant to do a collaborate project for all of its schools.
Snoddy went on to thanks government school officials, arts council members, students and parents.
"It is all working together for the kids. That's what it is all about," Snoddy said.
A representative from Lynn school thanked the council for an art teacher placed in the school, noting it was the fifth year to have students publish a book. "We use the art classes for illustrations, and we just thank you so much," she said. "The children were excited about that."
Wadsworth said the work of the arts council is "infectious" in the community, encouraging everyone and attracting people to participate in its programs. "You do a tremendous thing." He noted the example of Arly Baptist Church helping put in a handicapped platform to use for the art program at one of the Meek schools.
"You bring us together," he said. "I appreciate everything you do. Every place, every city in our county, every school, they are involved. They know what you do and they want to participate."
Larry Welton, the treasurer of the arts council, said the council's work doesn't just affect the schools but also the community. He said art is an $8 billion business in Alabama.
"It employs some 22,000 people who are directly related to the arts, whether it is music, plays, drama, drawing and things of this nature. It helps attract businesses," as well as "unify and enrich" the community.
Cummings thanked the council for its work in the community, noting the children being helped are the future of the area.
Officials also talked about how they are developing a theater program in the county, as students from Addison, Meek and Winston County high schools and Double Springs Middle School put on "Cyrano de Burger Shack at Looney's Tavern in May.