Parkland Press

Monday, December 9, 2019

Parkland School District named Outstanding Visual Arts Community

Thursday, October 31, 2019 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Local News

An ensemble of string players performed lovely music in the Parkland School District Administration Building as a large crowd of parents and educators viewed a display of art work created by students.

Following the art and music reception at the school board’s Oct. 22 meeting, Director of Visual and Performing Arts Mark Stutz announced the district has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Art Education Association as an Outstanding Visual Arts Community for 2019.

To receive this endorsement, districts should have rigorous art programs taught at every level by qualified, certified arts educators, and there should be art programs offered to all students with a sustainable budget for the visual arts.

Art accomplishments should be publicized through school websites and social media.

Stutz reported Parkland meets all those guidelines.

The district provides opportunities for art education at all grade levels, from kindergarten through 12th grade.

At the high school, there are 19 visual arts courses in painting, drawing, photography, computer art, graphics and animation, art history, jewelry and metals, traditional crafts, and ceramics.

For those who want to continue art study after high school, department staff help students prepare advanced level portfolio quality work for course credit.

The district displays students’ art work in the Trojan Art Gallery, in the administration building, and at the Festival of the Arts in May.

Stutz introduced art teachers from all the schools and noted 100 percent of them were present.

Then, he called forth Richard Shemonsky, whom Stutz said is “the person who makes all of this happen.”

Stutz commended Shemonsky, visual arts department head for kindergarten through grade 12, for his efforts in developing Parkland’s excellent art program.

Stutz noted the district did not apply for the Outstanding Visual Arts Community recognition.

“They [the Pa. Art Education Association] found us,” Stutz said.