By David Fowler
A harsh reality in the public school system is that while many children thrive and complete their education, not every child has the same opportunity. Some students struggle to keep up. Others drop out altogether.
This issue is addressed and explored in Spiral Bound, Living and Learning Through the Arts, a new documentary that takes an honest look at the current state of our education system and follows a passionate mixed group of high school students from the Arts & Science Council’s Studio 345 – an out-of-school youth development program for high school students – and education scholars from nearby Davidson College as they stand up, speak out, and try to change our education system and their futures for the better.
The film will premiere Tuesday, Sept. 9 at McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square (345 N. College St., Charlotte). A second premiere event will take place Thursday, Sept. 11 at the Davidson College Duke Family Performance Hall (207 Faculty Drive, Davidson). You can watch the trailer here.
“It was important to us that we premiere in Charlotte because we get our support from the community and this is where the students in the film are. It was important to us that we celebrate the premiere in the McGlohon Theatre, the same space Studio 345 students celebrate and showcase their accomplishments” said Barbara Ann Temple, ASC vice president of education and co-writer of Spiral Bound. “And it was equally important to include a Davidson premiere because of the partnership between Studio 345 and the Davidson Education Scholars.”
The documentary asks why our education system fails to reach some of the most at-risk children in our education system and offers arts education as a solution for helping those children find success personally and in the classroom. Arts education provides opportunities for students to find their passion and strive for improvement and growth. It helps develop creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. And it is disappearing from our public schools.
Dustyn Brigham, one of the students featured in the film, said that before he got to Studio 345 he’d never touched a camera. He discovered his love of film and photography on his first trip to the studio, but without Studio 345 he said he never would have found it.
“Studio 345 has definitely made me more confident,” Brigham said. “Something about having a passion makes everything else in life more enjoyable. I think that finding something your passionate about is healthy for your life and I found film at Studio 345.”
Arts education is too important to let it fade away. With the guidance of Bill Strickland of the Manchester Bidwell Group, Studio 345 created Spiral Bound to illustrate how crucial the arts are can be and how the defunding of art programs has had, and will continue to have, a negative impact.