Promoting Arts in Lander Schools (PALS) was recently named a recipient of a 2011 Governor’s Arts Award. Established in 1982, the Governor’s Arts Awards recognize artists, arts organizations and patrons who have displayed excellence in the arts and outstanding service to the arts in Wyoming.
PALS (Promoting Arts in Lander Schools) is a grassroots organization that brings the arts—including theater, music, literature, visual art, dance, and opera—to Lander students.
PALSbegan in 1999, when a group of parents brought Missoula Children’s Theatre to Lander for all district students in K-8. Since then, it has grown to include a variety of partnerships and programs.
According to PALS’ director Amy Russian, “PALS is honored to receive this award. Having the Governor’s stamp of approval lends credibility to what we do.”
PALS’goals are to expose as many students as possible to the visual and performing arts and to give them a variety of experiences—from appreciation to participation. Some programs provide an overview of an art form, while others offer in-depth experiences.
To accomplish its goals, PALS offers nearly 20 programs each year, reaching almost 10,000 students for nearly 12,000 hours of artistic programming.
PALS’cornerstone project is the Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT), in which students audition on a Monday, rehearse after school every day for the rest of the week, and then give two performances of an hour-long musical play on Saturday.
Established in 2001, Summer Creative Arts Camp (SCAC) provides students with an intensive, week-long arts experience that integrates visual arts, theater, storytelling, and dance. A different theme is explored each year. Past projects include puppets, masks, found art, mobiles, and architecture.
Each year, through its partnership with PALS, the Lander Community Concerts Association provides students with performances, master classes, and opportunities to perform with professional artists.
Arts in the Classroomencourages classroom teachers to bring in artists in various media to teach curricular areas through the arts.
PALS’visiting artist program allows the K-12 art teachers bring in artists who work in different media.
PALSreceives support from: Wyoming Community Foundation, Laura Jane Musser Fund, Lander District Rec Board, Lander Community Concerts Association, Wyoming Arts Council, Fremont County School District #1, Lander Community Foundation, individual contributions, and ticket sales and tuition.