Tryon Fine Arts Center hosts arts immersion program for Polk County second-graders

Published 12:10 pm Thursday, May 2, 2024

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Students participate in “Social Studies: How Values & Beliefs Shape Culture in America”


TRYON—On Monday and Tuesday, the Tryon Fine Arts Center hosted Polk County second-graders from Tryon, Sunny View, Saluda and Polk Central Elementary Schools to participate in an arts immersion program titled “Social Studies: How Values & Beliefs Shape Culture in America.” 

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The program helps students learn geography and social studies by studying art forms from across the globe.  

“This program meets NC standards for social studies, and it’s really fun for the kids,” Polk Central Teacher Michelle White said. “It’s a very interactive program that the kids love, and that gets them excited about the arts.”

The second-graders rotated between 40-minute class sessions led by expert instructors in theater, music, pottery, visual arts, and dance, with a lunch break and a mini-concert in between. 

In the theater class, Michelle Newman told stories from Greek mythology while she and the students acted out scenes in the courtyard. Artist Clara Rogers instructed the children on how to paint landscapes, giving them a lesson in French impressionism in the gallery. Woody Cowan and his guitar taught traditional music in the Green Room. From Tryon Arts & Crafts School, Connie Brown taught the kids to make bowls like their ancestors would have made. Dustin and Sher Shephard from Pat’s School of Dance took the stage to give the kids dance steps from Ireland and Africa. 

Tryon Fine Arts Center Executive Director Marianne Carruth emphasized the program’s aim. 

“This program is designed to empower the kids, allowing them to find themselves through the arts and gain self-confidence,” she said. “It provides a unique platform for participation and learning, fostering new concepts and ideas that might not be possible in a traditional classroom setting.”

Dance instructor Dustin Shepherd said, “We’re having a great time today. It’s fun to introduce the kids to something different they wouldn’t usually learn on a daily basis and encourage them.”

For more information on TFAC and its programs, visit