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Published on Mar 8, 2014
In recent years, the Mifflin County School District has encountered huge budget shortfalls that necessitated combining three middle schools into one, elimination of 25% of the district's faculty, and defunding of numerous extra-curricular programs. With no discretionary funds and a contentious political climate, school officials were unable to consider underwriting any non-essential programs, much less an arts residency. However, the Perry County Council of the Arts (PCCA) made school officials an offer they could not refuse: using funds from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program, the PCCA was able to pay for one hundred percent of a two week long residency. Glass muralist Linda Billet worked with middle school students to create a ten foot mural that was eventually prominently hung in the lobby stairway. Linda's residency became a bright spot during a school year in which students and teachers were still grappling with all the "newness" of the recent consolidation. The dedication ceremony grew in scope from a reception to a NIGHT of the ARTS, attended by over 250 people, which included a slide show of the residency in the library, display of student visual art, recitals by the choir and band, and food catered by the local technical school.