CMAP video promotes visual and performing arts

The San Benito County Office of Education premiered a new video that will be used to promote the benefits of visual and performing arts curriculum in local schools while also unveiling a new mural in the First 5/Early Childhood Education garden at R.O. Hardin School on June 19.

Liz Talbot, the director of special programs for the San Benito County Office of Education, said they received a Hewlett grant through the California County Superintendent Educational Services Association “to build capacity and promote advocacy for visual and performing arts in public school education.”

With the $1,600 grant, the office of education partnered with Community Media Access Partnership to create a nearly two-minute long video that will be shown to school administrators in San Benito County and possibly in other counties.

“They were an excellent partner,” Talbot said, of CMAP. “They were very professional and accommodating with what we did. They provided me with a script and I built the script from the California frameworks for visual and performing arts.”

The video, which can be viewed online at, outlines the California curriculum standards can be met through visual and performing arts. The art forms include dance, music, theater and visual arts. Talbot said finding activities in local schools to feature in the video was easy because there are an abundance of programs already happening in San Benito.

“Between CMAP and my husband (John Freiermuth), we went around the county and photographed and videotaped various events,” Talbot said. “The video is a montage of all the images and then voiceover as how it relates to the standards.”

Talbot said they weren’t able to get to all the schools in the county, but she got quick responses when she sent out an email asking for information about some of the activities going on at local schools.

Some of the activities included in the video were photos from San Benito High School’s performance of “High School Musical,” middle school band performances, a folkorico dance performance, artwork created by local students and more. Each segment lists the standards that are met with each form of visual and performing arts. For instance, the standards listed with theater included problem solving and using cooperative skills; identifying a character’s motivation; and connecting or applying what is learned in theater.

“After it was developed, I had at least one school, ‘Next year come to our school,’” Talbot said.

At the premiere of the video, a mural for the First 5/Early Childhood Education school garden was also unveiled. The planters in the garden were built through a partnership with First 5 and Ag in the Classroom, with support from the San Benito County Farm Bureau in 2010. There is a storage container that borders the garden and Joyce Swett, who retired from Frist 5 in August 2011, had wanted something done to decorate the container, Talbot said.

With funding from a separate grant, Nick Lust, a teacher at San Andreas Continuation High School, sketched the idea for a mural. His students helped him to replicate the art on pieces of wood that are fit together on the side of the container like a puzzle.

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