The Metropolitan Arts Council recently announced the establishment of a full-time teaching artist fellow position. The new position will work with teachers at high-poverty Greenville County schools to integrate arts into the curriculum at no cost to the schools.

“This fellowship is a testament to the generous nature of philanthropic individuals who make Greenville a thriving arts hub of the Southeast,” said Metropolitan Arts Council executive director Alan Ethridge. “This fellowship will help highlight and expand SmartArts, a program that has to date served students across 73 schools who have benefited from this arts-focused curriculum which helps students become college and career ready for the 21st century.”

The position, called the Dr. Martha R. Westrope teaching artist fellow, is funded by a $25,000 donation from the Caughman family to the SmartArts Art Integration Program.

“We are thrilled the Caughman family is honoring Dr. Westrope in this meaningful way,” said Kimberly Gibbs, director of arts education at the Metropolitan Arts Council. “This fellowship will help create an arts-rich environment at high-poverty schools, which, according to new Gallup data, creates both hope and engagement in students, leading to higher academic performance and higher graduation rates.”

The position will be announced at the 2019 annual meeting of the Metropolitan Arts Council, including an arts award ceremony, at 5:30 p.m. March 16 in the Gunter Theater at the Peace Center.

SmartArts is a partnership between Greenville County Schools and the Metropolitan Arts Council that connects students, artists and teachers to deepen learning and self-awareness through integrating the arts into all areas of education. The program was founded in 2002 and now serves more than 11,000 students living at or below the poverty line in 34 schools per school year.