From the moment I walked through the doors at Vineville Academy of the Arts, I knew there was something special. Soft classical music was playing in the lobby. Sayings like, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” decorated the walls. Principal Kristy Graham was greeting each student by name as they smiled and hurried off to class, excited to start their day.
What makes this place such a one-of-a-kind elementary school? For one, it’s a magnet school, which is a school of choice that focuses on a particular area. Vineville Academy of the Arts’ focus is the Fine Arts. Students must submit an application in order to attend and are chosen based on a lottery system. The school, located in Macon, GA, has academic rigor and high expectations integrated with Fine Arts; students are expected to complete their assignments and show strength of character in order to perform to their academic potential.
"On top of their regular academic classes, our students have access to interesting clubs and extracurricular activities to enhance their learning,” says Principal Kristy Graham, “We have tap, jazz, ballet, violin, cello, drums, and robotics. We also offer Chinese as a foreign language."
Research continues to show that fine arts programs like Vineville Academy’s increase the academic achievements, development, civic engagement, social skills, and the opportunities of the children that participate in it. According to a National Assembly of State Arts Agencies report, schools integrating the arts into the curriculum as part of a comprehensive education reform strategy are documenting positive changes in the school environment and improved student performance.
“I feel honored to be a part of such an amazing school where educators, students, parents and community members work together to promote quality learning, Fine Arts and superior performance for all,” says Principal Graham, “By sharing big dreams and working together, we are meeting high standards of student achievement and developing students with strength of character who are college or career ready."
Among many academic requirements at Vineville Academy, students must attend three cultural arts events outside of school events. These are cultural events such as theatrical productions, dance recitals, music recitals or museums, which encompass the arts. Students must also complete three Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) Fine Arts projects a year. Families have responsibilities too. Parents must complete 8 volunteer hours during the school year. As part of their volunteer hours, they can donate time, classroom supplies, baked goods, school needs, etc.
The motto at Vineville Academy of the Arts is, “Every Child is a Masterpiece,” and it is evident that every teacher, administrator, parent, and student believes this saying to be true. After spending the day at Vineville Academy of the Arts, I walked away feeling inspired by the welcoming learning environment that encourages creativity, individuality, collaboration, and self-expression.