Community | Spring 2019

ArtsinStark: Promoting art integration in schools

MAC Trailer Enterprises
(Photo courtesy of ArtsinStark)

ArtsinStark advocates for arts integration to improve students’ lives

Integrating arts into academics can help students like school more and increase their test scores. Simply put, students learn more with arts-focused learning.

“It has taken a decade for us to convince the public school districts in Stark County to adopt arts integration, but now that they have, they are seeing and enjoying fantastic results,” says Robb Hankins, CEO of ArtsinStark.

Creating smarter kids

ArtsinStark is a 48-year-old agency using arts to create smarter kids. With arts integration, subjects such as dance and reading are taught together. Music and science are paired, or drama and history, creating interest, intention and classroom retention.

ArtsinStark staff are community advocates for arts integration. For example, in the SmArts Program, schools receive an educational format to follow based on their particular academic challenge—say, to do better in math or to advance reading skills.

“Based on the challenge, we choose one of our artists to plot out a process for improvement and help teachers understand how to use the arts to supercharge learning,” Hankins says.

For example, an actress integrated a style of learning history through rap songs. The teacher loved the program, and her class earned the second-highest test scores for that unit.

“For many people, arts are not as mainstream, and many teachers coming from college have not done much art-focused curriculum. It seems radical,” says Hankins. “But once they see the results, then they say, ‘Wow.’”

Offering support

Two years ago, Huntington became a major supporter of the SmArts Program, supporting low-to-moderate income schools in the district, with a focus on Alliance, Canton and Massillon.

“It’s truly exciting to have them behind us,” Hankins says. “It validates this approach to learning and is incredibly helpful for awareness of the program."

About the organization

Name: ArtsinStark
City: Canton, Ohio
Phone: (330) 453-1075
Mission: ArtsinStark is devoted to creating smarter kids, new jobs and a healthier community by funding arts programs.

How you can help

Monetary gifts are gratefully accepted. Visit and click on the “Support” tab to make a donation.

Make an impact

Learn how Huntington can help make a positive impact in the region. Contact your Huntington relationship manager.
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