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West Alabama Arts
Education Collaborative



Shannon McCue
West Alabama Arts Education Collaborative Director
(205) 345-9802

The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa is announcing the establishment of the West Alabama Arts Education Collaborative, a project of the Artistic Literacy Consortium. The Collaborative will be led by its new director, Shannon McCue, and will be administered through a regional office located at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. The Artistic Literacy Consortium is a joint project between the Alabama State Council on the Arts and The Alabama State Department of Education.

Currently, less than 40% of school systems across the state of Alabama offer arts education programming, with rural communities impacted the most.

A leadership team of arts, education, business and community leaders from across the state worked for three years to create the Alabama Plan for Arts Education. The plan was accepted by the State Board of Education in March 2016. In 2018, the Alabama State Legislature approved $400,000 in new funding for the Alabama State Council on the Arts to launch three pilot Regional Arts Education Collaboratives. The collaboratives are strategically located in Huntsville, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. The shared goals for the three collaboratives are to provide regional arts education inventories as well as professional development for teachers, artists and arts organizations in arts integration.

2019-2020 Update:

The West Alabama Arts Education Collaborative is going strong in its second full year of programming. In the Fall of 2019, the WAAEC had two programs, a creative writing partnership with the Alabama Writers' Forum for third and fourth graders at Buhl Elementary School in Buhl, AL, and a visual arts/social science unit for first graders at Myrtlewood Elementary School in Fosters, AL. In the Spring of 2020, the WAAEC will have a multidisciplinary arts integration program for Kindergartners at The Alberta School of Performing Arts in Tuscaloosa, in addition to a music partnership with the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra for fourth graders at Englewood Elementary School in Tuscaloosa. In the Summer of 2020, the WAAEC will offer continued professional development opportunities for teaching artists, classroom teachers, and administrators through a series of workshops.

Upcoming events: 

February 5, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. the WAAEC will hold a Poetry Cafe and Book Launch at Buhl Elementary School (11968 Buhl School Road, Buhl, AL) in celebration of the students who participated in the Fall 2019 creative writing program.


January 16, 2019-"Myrtlewood students show off during special night" (Feature article by the Tuscaloosa News)

Article by Drew Taylor/Photo by Ally Agdragna