Launch party held in anticipation of arts charter school

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –  They want to incorporate art in every school subject.
Wednesday the Wilmington School of the Arts hosts a launch party to update on where things stand with the charter school.

Board members still have an uphill climb to get there but say they’re getting closer and closer to a first for downtown Wilmington. The bell will not ring until 2019 for the planned school.

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“All of the current charter schools in New Hanover County are outside of the core city of Wilmington,” said Barry Rice who sits as the chair on the Wilmington School of the Arts board of directors.

It’s focus is to eventually teach kids Kindergarten through 8th grade on a Core Knowledge curriculum incorporating art of any kind in every core subject. Something board members say current arts centered schools cannot guarantee.

“We’ll be incorporating and integrating all phases of the arts,” said Rice. “Theatre, drama, dance, pottery, drawing, music, choral everything. Snipes doesn’t do that,” Rice added referring to the Snipes Academy that sits as an arts school for New Hanover County public schools.



They plan to launch the charter school in August of 2019. Right now board members are interviewing and are set to apply for chartered status with the state.

It’s not all singing and dancing, the school will teach core subjects but with a twist.

“It’s very structured, but it’s structured based on how the students learn,” said board vice chair Jill Hatfield.

The idea formed here at Flytrap Brewery with hopes to keep it near the Brooklyn Arts District or downtown to give students exposure to the arts Wilmington has to offer. Rice says several local leaders and business leaders have shown interest in seeing the school come to the area. He adds that initially they will launch a K through 2nd grade school with roughly 80 to 100 students each grade level.