WCASD Recognized as an Outstanding Visual Arts Community


WEST CHESTER, PA — The West Chester Area School District was recognized by The Pennsylvania Art Education Association (PAEA) for its commitment to visual arts education with the endorsement of Outstanding Visual Arts Community 2022. PAEA empowers its members to transform their practices, students, colleagues, and communities to build a strong art education culture and citizenry.

Districts receiving this endorsement demonstrate the importance of their visual arts programs with:

  • Rigorous and Inclusive Programs: Arts programs demonstrate rigor using standards-based curricula taught at every level by highly qualified and certified art educators.
  • Highly Accessible Programs: Art programs are offered to all students at every level of education with a sustainable budget for the visual arts.
  • Highly Visible Programs: Schools and districts identify their programmatic accomplishments, curriculum for all levels, art staff, mission statements, and arts events using their school websites and social media.

Students in the WCASD celebrate the importance of a well-rounded education with opportunities to engage in arts education courses at all grade levels, K-12. “Whenever you walk into any of our 17 buildings, you feel like you are entering an art exhibit. Our teachers and students work hard all year long to create spaces that reflect the artistic efforts of all students, including our studio art, sculpture, and digital media classes,” said Assistant to the Director of Secondary Education, Dr. Kristen Barnello.

These opportunities prepare students for robust futures in the creative industries as well as prepare them for skills needed across all aspects of life such as problem-solving, flexible mindsets, team and collaboration skills, creativity, and more. These are the cognitive skills young people will need to find their place in a globally competitive workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts and culture sector is a $699 billion industry, which represents 4.3% of the nation’s GDP—a larger share of the economy than transportation and agriculture. The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $135 billion in economic activity annually (spending by organizations and their audiences), supports 4.1 million jobs, and generates $22.3 billion in government revenue (Americans for the Arts, 2015). Technology innovations such as big data, data analytics, and visualization will simply increase the importance of visual and spatial learning skills.

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The Pennsylvania Art Education Association commended the District for its active role in providing arts education opportunities for students and receiving the endorsement of Outstanding Visual Arts Community 2022.

“We have such tremendous support for our students’ artistic endeavors and skill development in this community,” said Superintendent Bob Sokolowski. “This honor truly reflects all of our staff who work tirelessly to engage students in programs and activities, our students who pursue their passions, and the incredible number of people who enthusiastically come out to events all year long,” he added.

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