Newsom Family Endowment Awards $4K Grant for District-Wide Art Project

The Roanoke Rapids Schools Foundation awarded the RRHS Chapter of the National Art Honor Society a $4,000 grant Tuesday evening to create community art in all of the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District buildings.  The money is given each year to a deserving art project from the Newsom Family Endowment for the Arts which the RRSF administers.  This year’s winning project will be overseen by RRHS Art Teacher Jenna Fromal and consists of a student-led, teacher-facilitated collaboration between high school and younger students to design and paint large murals at each school.  

“To have student painted murals on our school walls sends a message that art is important in our district. Public art fosters a caring for the greater good, and speaks to its audience about not only the beautification of a space, but a shared message envisioned and developed by its creators.  I’m excited to see what our students will create,” said Fromal.  

RRHS National Art Honor Society students will lead and assist the planning, coordination, and creation of murals specific to each of the following schools - Roanoke Rapids High School, Chaloner Middle School, Belmont Elementary and Manning Elementary, Clara Hearne Pre-K and Akers School.  

“Fromal’s project was chosen for its inclusion of students of all ages. This will certainly be something they can each look back on in years to come and give them a sense of ownership in the art they created,” said Dain Butler, Superintendent.  

National Art Honor Society students will work directly with art teachers of the middle and elementary schools and act as mentors to teach younger students how to produce, develop the ideas for, and finally paint the murals in their schools.

“This will be an on-going, year-long project,  scheduled to begin this fall,” Fromal added.  

Established in 2017, the Newsom Family Endowment for the Arts most recently awarded a grant for keyboards to expand the music program at Roanoke Rapids High School.  With threats to funding for the arts from the General Assembly and Congress, Mac Newsom, who is a 1961 RRHS graduate, established the endowment as a way of giving back to the community and furthering art programs within the district.

"What a great way to use this second grant for our artists of all ages in the school district.  This project is exactly the type of thing we had in mind when the Endowment was created.  Having students of all ages design and paint large murals in six different schools is a real achievement.  I applaud the students, teachers, and the administrators and I am already excited about what you all will come up with next year,” Newsom said.  

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