Kutztown Area School District’s arts program was recognized as an Outstanding Visual Arts Community for the third year in a row. Kutztown was one of 20 school districts throughout Pennsylvania to be selected for this recognition based on rigorous and inclusive programs, highly accessible programs, and highly visible programs.

The Pennsylvania Art Education Association recognizes schools and districts across the state of Pennsylvania for their commitment to Visual Arts education for all students PK-12. Kutztown is one of 20 schools selected across Pennsylvania to receive the 2021 Outstanding Visual Arts Community endorsement.

“Kutztown’s rich tradition of arts in education has afforded our students opportunities to practice and study the classical, fine, and contemporary arts. Working across multiple mediums, our young artists explore the creative, technical, and entrepreneurial aspects of art, producing works that are both a reflection of culture as well as works that speak into the culture,” said Kutztown High School art teacher Benjamin Hoffman. “Along with our many on-campus showcases and displays, our students have displayed their work at various local and state venues, traveling exhibitions, and national publications. Kutztown’s art program encourages students to take risks, explore new materials, and reflect upon themselves, each other, and the world around them.”

Hoffman said that what makes Kutztown’s art program an outstanding visual arts community is that Kutztown’s art program is constantly seeking opportunities to extend its reach beyond the classroom walls.

“Our rigorous and inclusive programs provide art education to all grade levels as well as support us as educators to participate in arts-specific professional development. Furthermore, our program does not withhold students from art classes for any reason and ensures that we meet the needs of every learner. Beyond the school day, our program is visible online and often recognized throughout the community through public displays, traveling exhibitions, and social media,” he said.

Throughout the year, Kutztown students participate in events that enrich the community and work to showcase the impact the arts can have in one’s life.

This past year, the high school expanded its Art Room, organizing an entire space dedicated to clay and wheel-throwing. Each year, students participate in the Souper Bowl which is a program sponsored by the Opportunity House to help fundraise for families in need through a county-wide soup event.

This past summer, the Middle School Art & Science program paired up to offer two one-week camps dedicated to the exploration of Art & Science outdoors.

The annual K-12 Holiday Art Extravaganza displays the work of all students during the downtown holiday festivities. This past year, the art show was held at the Kutztown Community Partnership.

Last year, students were invited to help paint a mural outside of the Bagel Bar in town. This project led to several more murals in the works and community art projects to come.

“As a resident of Kutztown Borough, there is nothing more special than working alongside our students in the community, making every effort to beautify and enrich our space together,” said Hoffman. “Kutztown is an incredibly special community that is grounded in traditions and values. There is truly a sense of pride when you ask individuals about their experience in Kutztown. For students, these opportunities afford lifelong memories that allow students to leave a lasting mark beyond their education. Students may travel and explore the world, but upon their return home, they can always point out the traditions in which they were apart.”

Superintendent Christian Temchatin congratulated Kutztown’s students and staff, including art teachers Sara Fidler, elementary; Kris Tuerk, middle school, and Ben Hoffman, high school, as well as prior art teachers, during the Oct. 18 school board meeting.

“There is just a great visual arts community and culture here in Kutztown that extends from the University through town,” said Temchatin. “It is a culture that is pervasive throughout our schools. Walk down the halls of any school and just see the talent… It’s a direct reflection of an entire program, in a culture, so congrats. It is very well deserved recognition as an outstanding visual arts community.”

“It goes without saying how thankful and appreciative we are of the entire Kutztown Area School District administration and school board,” said Hoffman. “Without their support, we could not have the art program that we have in place. Furthermore, I want to acknowledge the art educators who have come before us, laying the groundwork for the success that continues to grow today. Thanks to those individuals as well as our district, our program continues to expand each year, seeking new opportunities to advocate, promote, and advance the Arts here at Kutztown.”

Kutztown Area School District named Outstanding Visual Arts Community

By Indana