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Educational excellence through integration of the arts

Integration Station

Good-Bye Old World: 4th Grade Colonial Night

Good-Bye Old World: 4th Grade Colonial Night

SWANNANOA, NC- On Thursday, February 11, 2016, ArtSpace 4th graders demonstrated their knowledge of  NC colonial history through an evening filled with performances.  Students opened the evening by dancing a traditional reel common to colonial times.  Students transitioned to a performance of the play Good-Bye Old World, an original work by former 4th grade teacher Brian Mahoney.  This play offered the audiences and 4th grade actors a glimpse into the perspectives of people who lived during colonial times – both European settlers and indigenous peoples.

chief in colonial play

The chief of the Chow-an-oak trying to make peace.

In the play, students from Ms. Tonya’s and Ms. Victoria’s homerooms enacted the difficulties colonial settlers and indigenous peoples encountered in the era of first encounters – from the Chow-an-oak’s fear of the alien arrival of the European settlers, to the motivation of the settlers to start all over in a new and strange land.
Combining dance, theater and social studies, the students were able to put themselves in the historical context of the play and gain empathy for these characters from the past.  Audience, actors, and faculty all took pride in the production and are excited to take up the stage again before the year’s end.  Rumor has it, a science play about the phases of the moon featuring hip hop is in the works.

History Day 2016

History Day 2016

On Thursday, January 21, 7th grade students participated in the first ever History Day competition on ArtSpace Campus.  Students chose to present their History research through a variety of media including

7th Graders Ronin and Logan exhibit their research.

7th Graders Ronin and Logan exhibit their research.

documentaries, exhibits, websites, and research papers.  

The National History Day program allows students to research topics that they are passionate about and present their work in a wide range of formats. Students gain research skills, learn to properly cite sources, and develop the ability to manage time during a long-term project.

17  students will be continuing on to the regional competition in Cullowhee on March 19th.  We look forward to watching them compete and wish them luck!

T-shirts, designed by an ArtSpace student, were generously donated for the event by Dr. Jojo Yonce of Asheville Brain Training.  

Koresh Dance Company Workshops at ArtSpace

Koresh Dance Company Workshops at ArtSpace

SWANNANOA, NC- ArtSpace 5th, 7th and 8th graders took part in dance workshops with Philadelphia based Koresh Dance Company last week. School closings due to inclement weather kept these students from enjoying a performance the previous week by the renowned dance company but this didn’t prevent them from being inspired to do great work with the company when they were on campus.


7th and 8th grade dance elective students learning a combination from Koresh dancers

7th and 8th grade dance elective students experienced a jazz/ballet/modern fusion technique class  much like those the Koresh Dancers experience when they are preparing for a new performance.  Students warmed up and learned a short combination that emphasized line, dynamics and phrasing.  The Koresh dancers were impressed by the elective students’ focus and drive during the lesson.

According to ArtSpace dance teacher Mary LaBianca one of the qualities Koresh Dance Company is known for is their use of non-traditional music or the spoken word as their instrumentation.  When working with the company 5th graders choreographed a dance to the words of a Tupac Shakur poem (seen below). In small groups, students created a routine, rehearsed and then recreated it for their audience. Each group of students,

5th graders performing their Tupac piece to music.

5th graders performing their Tupac piece to music.

working with the dancers, created dynamic movement pieces that followed a rhythm while telling a story. Collaboratively, students offered movement to illustrate each part of the poem.  After an evaluation period, the groups then adapted their work based on the feedback.  All of this work was done without musical accompaniment. After the the groups had performed using the lyrics of the poem they circled up and performed their routine to an instrumental piece of music. In that moment students realized that although they had not choreographed to music the poem had it’s own inherent rhythm.

ArtSpace is very thankful to Rae Geoffrey Associate Director of Diana Wortham Theater who facilitated this exciting opportunity for these students

The Rose That Grew From Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew

from a crack in the concrete?

Proving nature’s law is wrong it

learned to walk with out having feet.

Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,

it learned to breathe fresh air.

Long live the rose that grew from concrete

when no one else ever cared.

Tupac Shakur – From the book The Rose that Grew from Concrete


The 12th Annual Third Grade Dinner Party

The 12th Annual Third Grade Dinner Party

ArtSpace third graders continued a long-standing tradition last week with their presentation of The Dinner Party. The Dinner Party is a project brought to ArtSpace by Ms. Lori when she was in the role of arts integration facilitator in 2003.  Inspired by the work of artist Judy Chicago, the work is an adaptation of her 1979 collaborative feminist work of the same name.DSC_0071

In Chicago’s piece, 99 place settings were set on a triangular table, each setting a tribute to a particular woman who had changed the world in some way.  On the inset of the table, 999 smaller triangles with names of other notable women filled in the table. Chicago was spurred to undertake this massive project because she was once told by a professor women never did anything important in history and that is why people don’t learn about them.

The ArtSpace version of The Dinner Party allows 3rd graders to choose someone of any gender with the caveat that it must be an inventor, philanthropist, or artist who created change in the world in some way. Students read biographies about their chosen subject.  From that research, students then create a plate and table setting in their visual arts class, learn a song about changing the world in music, write and develop a monologue in their home room and theatre class.

This year’s Dinner Party had many highlights and exciting characters – from movie-maker Steven

Tim Burton's place at the table.

Tim Burton’s place at the table.

Spielberg, to soccer star Mia Hamm – and serves as a great example of how integrating the arts can be a deep and rewarding experience for students and audience alike.

Students Resume Class less than Two Weeks after Flooding

Students Resume Class less than Two Weeks after Flooding

SWANNANOA, NC- In typical ArtSpace fashion, less than two weeks since devastating flood damage occurred, the school is back in session.  Classes resumed for 4th-8th grade, Thursday January 7th and 1st – 3rd grade was welcomed back the following day.  Classes will begin for

Mr. Josh weilding the tools necessary to install hardi board.

Mr. Josh weilding the tools necessary to install hardi board.

kindergarten Monday, January 11th.  

“Kudos to the staff and students of ArtSpace Charter School! The majority of them returned today after missing just two days of school. It would have been easier to call it all off for a week or two and wait for contractors to come in and do the work, but that ain’t how we roll. Teachers and staff, parents and volunteers (many of whom were professional contractors themselves who sacrificed billable hours to get the school up and running).”  Enterprise and Development Manager Josh Batenhorst shared on Facebook the day school resumed.

Along with the cleaning and rebuilding efforts there has been an outpouring of support from the community, offering donations and creating drop off sites for others in the community to donate.  The Native Kitchen in Swannanoa hosted a very successful Dine Out event on Wednesday, January 6th, raising $5900 to help ArtSpace recoup the $25,000 insurance deductible.

Ms. Meg's Music Mountain-while 3rd grade uses her classroom Ms. Meg has created the ultimate instrument ediface

Ms. Meg’s Music Mountain-while 3rd grade uses her classroom Ms. Meg has created the ultimate instrument ediface

Although many recovery projects have been completed in the school there is still a long way to go. Some grade levels are in temporary spaces while carpeting is being laid in their regular classrooms.  After the carpet is relaid the rubber skirting that runs at the bottom of every wall in the building must be replaced.  There is over 6,000 linear feet that has to be installed; that is more than a mile of skirting!  Volunteers will be needed to get this completed in a timely manner.

ArtSpace is employing School Messenger to keep their community notified of progress as it is made.  They have also relied on Help Counter, a volunteer requests website to keep people updated on volunteer needs.  ArtSpace will continue to use these services as well as Facebook to update everyone with flood recovery progress as well as volunteer needs.

The Flood of 2015: ArtSpace Remembers

Flood Recovery Underway – How YOU Can Help!

Flood Recovery Underway – How YOU Can Help!

Early on the morning of December 29, ArtSpace Charter School experienced a devastating flood event.  Heavy rains collapsed the bank next to our building and the resulting mudslide caused massive damage to the interior of the

Flooding hit nearly every room in the school.

Flooding hit nearly every room in the school.


We have had wonderful support from our community, but we are facing a high deductible ($25,000) for our insurance and significant repair costs that could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to remedy the situation.  If you would like to support please visit:



Likewise, if you would rather mail a check, please put “Flood Recovery” in the memo line and send checks to:

Flooding in the theater.

Flooding in the theater.

ArtSpace Charter School

2030 US Hwy 70

Swannanoa, NC 28778


Thank you for your help!

Middle School Band Students Skype with Composer Michael Story

Middle School Band Students Skype with Composer Michael Story

“Music is the one gift that makes us human” – a direct quote from composer Michael Story as he skyped with the 7th/8th grade band at ArtSpace on December 1st.  Story is a well-respected composer of elementary and middle school band charts.  The ArtSpace band is playing his arrangement, “Holiday Carol Collage” at the winter concert this week.

During the Skype interview students asked Mr. Story a plethora of questions including:

  • What inspired you to become a composer?
  • What do you consider your biggest success?
  • Do you have any tips about creating a career in music?


The band members listened as “Mike” answered with very clear and thoughtful responses.  He shared his experiences as a young piano player with his mother as his teacher. Her inspiration led him to choose to play the trumpet as well.  Mike admits that his middle school band was not very good, and almost dissuaded him from continuing with music.  However, his high school band opened up the possibilities of what a great music program and director can do for a young musician.

During his sophomore year he became very curious about the possibility of writing music.  There are so many fields to go into when pursuing a music career, to Mike, composing was his niche.  Mike believes that film music composers are the new classical writers of our time, and really enjoys listening to the greats like John Williams and Howard Shore.  The students were also pleased to learn that Mike enjoys the music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as well!  He is an appreciator of all different genres, and really encouraged ArtSpace students to listen to as much music as possible – artists who play the instrument they study, as well as others.

IMG_20151201_104616936When asked if he still gets nervous before performances, Mike responded, “Oh yeah. You’re nervous because you care.” ArtSpace music teacher Meg Boerner believes these words have resonated with the band as they prepare for their own concerts this Wednesday.  The students were grateful for the opportunity to meet and gain advice from a successful music composer, someone who generously donated of his time and revealed himself to be not only a remarkably accomplished artist, but a friendly, relatable person.


Coming Soon To A Theater Near You!

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You!

SWANNANOA, NC- The ArtSpace stage will be filled with exciting performances, informances and special events throughout December and January!  This week is the 4th Annual Medieval Faire hosted by ArtSpace 6th graders.This is not a traditional performance; attendees will have the chance to wander the Faire to learn about “products and services” available during the Middle Ages.  Students will also present traditional mystery plays, choral music, and traditional social dances from the time period.  

6th graders prepare for their Medieval Faire performance.

6th graders prepare for their Medieval Faire performance.

Next week on Wednesday, December 16th, middle school students will present the Winter Arts Festival.  This night of entertainment will include performances from the 6th and 7th/8th grade bands under the direction of Ms. Meg Boerner, movies created by students in technology with Mr. Steve, and dance performances choreographed under the guidance of Ms. Mary.  This diverse group of  performances will highlight the skills and arts understanding the students have developed in their specific art forms over the past two quarters.  There will be a school performance at 2 PM and an evening performance at 6:00 PM.

In January, after winter break, the action ramps up again with a puppet performance created by the 7th and 8th grade drama elective.  Students have created big puppets and written stories to perform for the kindergarten- 5th grade classes at ArtSpace.  This performance is scheduled for Wednesday, January 13th.

The next day, January 14th, 3rd grade will host the 12th Annual Dinner Party Project.  This is a project inspired by a collaborative art piece created in the late 60’s and 70’s with the same name.  Third graders have researched an

Third graders prepare their plates for The Dinner Party.

Third graders prepare their plates for The Dinner Party.

individual who has had an impact on the world in some way through philanthropy, invention, etc.  They have used this research to create table place settings to represent this person.  On Thursday, January 14th the dinner table will be set and 3rd graders will present monologues as the person they researched.  The Dinner Party Project is one of the oldest event traditions at ArtSpace and one well-worth experiencing.

On that day, too, the school will be holding Musical auditions for students interested in participating in this year’s musical GO DOG GO!  It is shaping up to be a busy winter in the theater and we are excited to collaborate witho our students to create these wonderful learning opportunities.

Cold and Flu Season is Here

Cold and Flu Season is Here


Like in all public schools during the late fall and winter, children begin to spend more time inside due to inclement weather and limited daylight hours.  The increased time in close quarters with others means that we share more than just space!  Colds, the flu, and other bugs tend to thrive and spread fast at this time of year.

Sometimes it is hard to determine when to keep a child at home.  The following are the ArtSpace guidelines as outlined in the Parent-Student Handbook:

*** Please Use These Guidelines When Determining When To Keep Your Child Home***

  • Vomiting and/or Diarrhea in previous 24 hours
  • Temperature 100 degrees or higher (must be kept home until fever free for 24 hours)
  • Any suspicious rash must be seen by a physician.  Child may return to school only with a medical doctor’s note deeming the rash to be non-contagious.
  • Illness that prevents your child from participating comfortably in classroom or program activities.  
  • Pink eye with discharge, until seen by a medical doctor.  A note must be provided stating when the child may return to school.
  • Strep Throat, until 24 hours after medication has started.
  • Head lice, until morning after first treatment and lice/nit free.
  • Scabies, until afer treatment is completed.
  • Chicken Pox, after 6th day of onset of rash or sooner if all sores are dried and crusted.
  • Any communicable disease deemed by the Executive Director to require doctor approval to return to school
  • Child displays any of the following:
      • Lethargy (Lifelessness)
      • Irritability
      • Persistent crying, difficulty breathing, or other signs of severe illness.


The following note is from local Naturopath and ArtSpace parent, Rebecca Word.  Rebecca serves on the ArtSpace Health and Wellness Committee and offers the following to help keep kids from catching illnesses.

Disclaimer: The following is not intended to diagnose, treat or individually prescribe for any person.  If in doubt consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Hi ArtSpace families,

We all get a little antsy when cold and flu season rolls around, but there are really useful preventive strategies you can rely on. Here are a few of many:

  • Most importantly, a decrease of refined sugars and carbohydrates is essential (yes,

all that Halloween candy); these foods really hamper immune function. Encourage

children to eat a rainbow…not skittles…but fruits and veggies. Let them see you do

the same

  • Kids like yummy stuff…elderberry syrup is a wonderful remedy for wintertime and

offers antioxidants, potassium, beta-carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C. For children under 2, add the syrup to hot water to kill any microbes in the honey.

    • You can stir into tea as well. Very tasty. You can purchase it of course, but here’s a super easy and inexpensive recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs:
      • ½ cup dried organic Elderberries
      • 3 cups water

      • 1 cup raw local honey

      • 1 organic cinnamon stick
      • 3 organic Cloves
      • a pinch of dried organic ginger root

Place berries, water, and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Smash the berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture. Cool and stir in honey. Will last for 2-3 months stored in the fridge.  Kids age 2 and up: take 1-2 Tb/day for prevention; triple this if feeling blah (will also clear digestive tract!)

If your little one does start to come down with something increase the elderberry syrup as mentioned above and you can add vitamin C, zinc and vitamin A to assist in battling the bug. For children ages 5-12 dosages are as follows: 500 mg vitamin C 2- 3 times per day, zinc 15-30 mg/day and vitamin A can be used 25,000 iu twice per day FOR THREE DAYS ONLY. The vitamin A can accumulate in the liver and so at that dosage should be used short term only, but it is an awesome anti-viral.

Enjoy the late fall and winter weather. Here’s to your health!

Rebecca R. Word, ND



#Giving Tuesday Was a Huge Success

#Giving Tuesday Was a Huge Success

On Monday, November 30th members of the Development committee reminded the ArtSpace community that #Giving Tuesday was just around the corner by passing out flyers in the rain wearing tutus during morning drop off and afternoon pick up.  It must have left a good impression because #Giving Tuesday has been a  huge success! More donations continue to come in and the team is expecting donations to far surpass the $9000 goal for donations and pledges.

Now in its fourth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.  Observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.  Enterprise and Development Manager Josh Batenhorst said (while wearing a tutu), “I thought this would be a great event to remind people to give to the ongoing Vision Fund effort we have at ArtSpace.  We are very grateful to everyone who has donated thus far.”

Although #GivingTuesday has passed the opportunity to donate to the fund has not expired.  The Vision Fund effort runs year round and there is still time to donate before the end of the year. You can visit www.artspacecharter.org/support-artspace or contact Mr. Josh to make your pledge.