2014 Award

    2014 Red Wagon Award

ARTS IN ACTION, INC is the recipient of the 10th annual Red Wagon Award.

Arts In Action, Inc began in 1998 in Hurricane, West Virginia when the founding director, Joni Cantrell, began teaching dance and theater in a church basement. By 2003 the church’s limited space was overwhelmed, therefore to meet the growing community demand, local leaders and core committee supporting the program formed Arts in Action, Inc. as a 501 © 3 organization and the program moved to its current independent, rented location in Hurricane. Urban Stage, a program of Arts In Action was founded in 2005 on the West Side of Charleston in an effort to serve children who otherwise could not study dance and reap the numerous benefits. Arts In Action, Inc. continues to educate, engage and empower youth. In the past year alone, over 250 area youth have been exposed to The Five Promises.

The purpose of Arts In Action is to make a positive and lasting impact in the lives of youth that will empower them to be successful adults. Arts in Action fulfilled this purpose for over 250 children and youth by providing classes in dance, music, theater, and visual arts. As students learned new art skills, they also learned about friendship and teamwork. Teachers and volunteers gave students individual attention and provided a positive influence. The end-of-the year performances and celebrations reinforced the pride in learning and joy in sharing new skills.

Arts In Action, Inc. vision is to ensure that every child has the opportunity to study the arts regardless of race, religion or economic status. This vision was achieved by an incredibly inclusive approach and attitude that welcomes all children and through fundraising that enabled financial aid and family discounts for about two-thirds of the students. This approach is present in all programs, and taken to an extreme in the Urban Stage program provided to youth in Charleston’s West Side. Urban Stage classes were provided without tuition or fees for seventy children in 2013-14; this program was made possible by community support, grants, generous volunteer efforts and a staff that are passionate about making a difference in the lives of children through the arts.

Arts In Action, Inc. provides all Five Promises to children as they learn skills in dance, music and visual arts, and through the joy they experience in accomplishment. Instructors and volunteers are Caring Adults who actively instill values of mutual respect, loyalty and concern in the classroom. A Safe Place is provided by ensuring buildings are clean and secure, equipments is safe and appropriate, and background check on all adults are completed while also providing an emotionally safe place by creating a positive, uplifting atmosphere of mutual respect. A Healthy Start is fulfilled during dance classes where students become more aware of their body through movement, while developing the five components of physical fitness; muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and improved body composition. Arts In Action, Inc. provides effective education; students achieve significant, measurable advancement of skills. Research results show that arts education programs positively impact a child’s overall academic success, self-discipline, teamwork and sense of belonging. Opportunities to Help Others is provided by students participating in class planning, mentoring younger students or joining the Student Leadership Program as a Trainee then advance to Jr. Assistant, Sr. Assistant, Intern then are certified to teach beginner level classes.

For additional information: Joni Cantrell, Founding Director
Phone: 304-419-1193, Email: joni@artsinaction.info, Website: www.artsinaction.info