Help Needed to Save the Arts

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By Sam Jones
By Andy Shofstall

WILLIAMSON COUNTY — The campaign to save Johnston City’s art program has hit a milestone, but there's still a long way to go.

The high school eliminated art classes last spring, to cut costs. Ever since then, the art teacher has led a mission to bring back the program. They're now halfway to their goal of $40,000, but time is running out.

The group knew it was a longshot from the beginning. That isn't stopping these dedicated art lovers, as they hit the halfway mark in fundraising. With your help, they hope to double their donations by August.

“Art is actually a big part of my life,” Angel Angone enthused.

The high school senior's learning from a young age: sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in.

“It's a little overwhelming because we’re trying to raise so much money, but I think in the end we should be in a pretty good spot,” added Angone.

She’s at the Johnston City farmer's market every Friday night, with fellow student Zoe, teachers, and parents, using their artistic talent to bring in donations.

“It's very important because I hope that someday I can be an art major and be an art teacher,” she said.

The woman behind this mission is longtime art teacher Kathy Rushing.

“During the summer is very difficult to try and get things done and so many people are on vacation and so they're gone whenever we're having our events,” Rushing explained.

Despite the odds, the group has raised almost $20,000 in a matter of weeks. An impressive number, but still not close enough.

“I would have liked to see us raise more,” admitted Rushing.

They're planning a dinner theater fundraiser, along with online crowd funding; anything to hit that magic number

“We need those people to get involved. We really need every $5 donation we can get, or more,” she urged.

Their deadline, the first week in August, is the last chance to adjust next year's curriculum and add the art program back in.

“If we get enough money and the school board reinstates the program, then all those kids registering are gonna have to change their schedules because they did not have art on it,” said Rushing.

That dinner theater event is Friday July 18 at the high school, starting at 6:00 p.m. The cost is only $20 per person, with food and entertainment included. Everyone is welcome.

You can donate online here: http://www.gofundme.com/7tvfnc

Support their Facebook page at this website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1573865336172308/

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