The Imagine! film follows Ooltewah Elementary School classroom teacher Mrs. Lisa Steele, and her class, during the fall of 2014 as they prepare to visit the Tivoli Theatre to see “The Nutcracker.” Despite a lack of financial resources for arts education at her school, Lisa Steele incorporates what she has learned at ArtsBuild’s Kennedy Center Workshops to successfully integrate arts education into her student’s learning every day.
Countless studies have shown that arts instruction, as well as integrating the arts into all curriculum, strengthens a student’s academic ability. However, visual arts teachers are lacking in many of Hamilton County’s elementary schools. Despite a State mandate that all public elementary schools should employ a visual arts teacher, during the 2014-2015 academic years, only 13 out of 43 HCDE elementary schools have a visual arts instructor.
Now in its sixth year, ArtsBuild’s Imagine! Initiative’s goal is to help bridge this education gap by providing arts and cultural experiences to all first through fourth grade students in Hamilton County, Tennessee. At no cost to the student or school, ArtsBuild provides the opportunity for first graders to see a play at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, second graders to attend Chattanooga Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” third graders to attend the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera’s Young People’s Concert, and fourth graders to see a professional theatre performance in collaboration with the Southern Lit Alliance.
Imagine! is produced by ArtsBuild, a nonprofit organization in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with the mission of “building a stronger community through the arts.” The film was directed by Leif Ramsey, SVAD Productions.