In August, the School announced that Mount Vernon Studios – known previously as MV Arts – had been awarded the 2021 Arts Innovation Award by the Arts School Network. Last week, Director of Visual and Performing Arts Matt Neylon, along with Lower Campus Visual and Performing Arts Instructors Amanda Lower and Shay Jones traveled to Columbia University to accept the award in person at the Arts School Network Conference.
Matt Neylon shared, “We started using the Arts School Network’s tool for evaluating arts programs in 2015 – seven years later, I couldn’t be more proud of the progress we have made as an arts program to be recognized by such an authority in the Arts Education space. Our team works day-in and day-out, before, during, and after school to create as many curricular, extra-curricular, and interdisciplinary opportunities as possible.”
He continued, “We offer an incredible number of unique opportunities for our students to explore their creativity and create through original work that inspires and has an impact. I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed to work with such a passionate group of teaching artists and work with a community that embraces exciting new ideas.”
In a release by the Art School Network, the award is described as a way to recognize schools committed to taking innovative artistic risks. It’s annually presented to a school that “breaks the mold” in using arts as a vehicle for teaching academics and/or making a difference in the lives of students and the community.
They recognized Mount Vernon, specifically, as connecting students with the real world in three unique ways.
- The ability to achieve mental and physical wellness through mindfulness yoga, tactile art, and projects that explore identity and emotion at every grade level.
- Illuminating diverse narratives through writing original scripts, performing thought provoking world premieres, working with a diverse set of professional artists, songwriting, recording, and filmmaking.
- Connecting with the creative industry by exploring emerging fields such as virtual/augmented reality, user experience design, industrial design, music industry, and multimedia showcases. Innovation is not just about technology, it’s about the ways we connect disparate disciplines, solve complex problems, mobilize groups for social impact, and connect foundational skills with future-focused studio environments.
“MV Arts and now Mount Vernon studios has always been singularly focused on advancing the mission of Mount Vernon,” Matt went on to share. “To be a program that is rooted in student inquiry, innovation, and impact – this award is an important milestone that shows we are living into that mission. I’m so happy to bring this award back to Atlanta as we continue to celebrate the progress and growth of MV during its 50th year.”
The Arts School Network is a non-profit association that provides arts school leaders, innovative partners, and members of the arts education with quality resources, support, and networking opportunities.