This week, the Lawrence County Board of Education expressed their commitment to ensuring the continuation of the Lawrence Extended Arts Program and commended the student organization for the success of their Spring Production, “Footloose: The Musical.”

For many Lawrence County middle and high school students, LEAP offers the only exposure the students may have to theatre and the dramatic arts. While other school organizations and community activities are undoubtedly deserving of recognition and additional funding, the board has realized the importance of the arts through programs like LEAP.

The arts are fundamental. While many may argue that the arts are simply another form of entertainment, music, drama, and art offer a higher level of enrichment to our students and to the community. Students engaged in programs like LEAP or even high school band typically exhibit improved academic performance. The arts encourage creativity and higher thinking.

Arts also drive creative industries and can help promote tourism for local productions and even museums, theatres and studios. The arts help bring people together and foster more unified communities. They help us understand our culture as well as the cultures and customs of others. 

For these reasons and many more, we should stand by our school programs that are creatively focused and encourage more communitywide activities that engage in the arts. Summer offers a great time to attend county festivals, sporting events and vacation, but it also offers a time for inspiration. 

Tap into your own creativity this summer and don’t let the school break interfere with your child’s artistic engagements. Put on your own little production in the back yard, encourage some poolside reading, or have your child paint the outdoor landscape. Support your local artists, encourage inspired students who participate in extracurricular activities like LEAP, and tap into your own inner artist this year.

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