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Keeping Students In School Through Art

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An education organization has a unique solution for improving Baltimore City schools’ drop-out rate: adding art to the classroom.

What’s more — as Gigi Barnett reports — the organization believes art can also help students learn tougher subjects.

One of the newest murals was just completed by students at Hilton Elementary School in Northwest Baltimore. It took weeks of work by the school’s second- and third-grade classes.

Students who created it know mural art is not easy.

“The hardest thing was actually trying to paint it because there were small spots,” said Zariah Stringfield, a student at Hilton.

A nonprofit group called “The Young Audience of Maryland” helped the mural come to fruition. The group brings entertainers and artists like Amanda Pellerin to city schools.

The group believes more art classes in elementary and middle schools can cut down the city’s drop-out rate.

“When students feel like it’s fun, it’s engaging, when they understand… that something in school is exciting, they want to come to school,” said Pellerin.

The organization’s grant goes primarily to schools in low-income areas. It’s designed to incorporate art into core subjects like science, language arts and reading. Each semester, 16 schools receive the grant.

Each school has its own art project, which could include music, stage performances and dramatic readings.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is a supporter.

“Each child learns differently,” she said. “When you have the arts-integrated education, you have a chance to reach kids that you just can’t through the normal curriculum. I’m glad they’re using it as a tool to reach kids.”

“Young Audience” is the nation’s largest arts education provider.

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