50 STORIES 50 YEARS: HAWORTH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Dwe Williams, one of the teaching performers who have visited Haworth public schools because of the grants of the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Dwe Williams, one of the teaching performers who have visited Haworth public schools because of the grants of the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Haworth Public School’s Words.Rhythm.Action! – Haworth| School | http://www.haworth.k12.ok.us/

Haworth is a rural, agricultural community where the average household income is $21,814, $17,330 less than the median family income across the state. In the PK-12 district, 85% of students receive free and reduced lunches.

Finances, distance, and low visibility of artists and arts events have combined to make the arts a low priority in this community, but with funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council the last three years have seen a rich variety of arts programs abounding in the district.

Traveling instructors from the Performing Arts Corps have wowed students with workshops ranging from modern dance on stability balls (Perpetual Motion) to modern music on classical instruments (Tulsa Rock Quartet.)

Younger students have been enthralled by storytellers (Dwe Williams) and rocked out with comedians (Sugar-Free All Stars.)

And middle schoolers have traveled nearly 500 miles round-trip to walk the halls of the Oklahoma Capitol building, gazing open-mouthed in wonder at the art displayed there.

Funding in a rural district is always stretched, with many hands reaching for meager resources.While the Haworth school board has made the arts a focus, and invested significantly in facilities and personnel, the district still faces the challenges of location and size.

Without public funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council, Haworth would be unable to bring in teaching artists from across the state, which would mean a tremendous loss of learning, inspiration, instruction, and joy for this district.

This story celebrates 50 years of the Oklahoma Arts Council and how the state’s investments have positive ripple effects on communities across Oklahoma. See other stories or follow this link for more information.