Leave it to the “Lunch Lady” to show the fine arts are on a comeback in Andover’s public schools.
Or, more accurately, the Lunch Lady’s author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka.
His visit to town next week is being seen as a sign that after years of budget cuts, the tide has begun to turn on arts education.
A recent self-study by a School Department team determined that Andover’s student artists, writers, performers and the like possess tremendous talent and should be better recognized and nurtured.
And now, with the financial support of the private Andover Coalition for Education, guest authors and performers are coming to town more often to engage students in the arts.
Krosoczka is the latest example. He’ll be in town for two days next week visiting classrooms at Bancroft and Shawsheen elementary schools. He’ll also give a free community-wide, after-school lecture on Tuesday, May 28, at 4 p.m. at Doherty Middle School.
“Sports get noticed every day at school, show choirs get noticed ... we knew we had to do something,” high school fine arts teacher Meghan Michaud said. “We want to get events, like art shows, in the forefront. We are striving for that.”
Michaud, currently on maternity leave, said the Andover Coalition for Education has been very supportive. The group, which in the past has paid for special panels to display student artwork, approved a grant by two elementary school art teachers to fund Krosoczka’s visit.
Ed Parker, lead teacher in Andover High’s Fine Arts Department, said in an email that the town was “extremely lucky” to attract the “Lunch Lady” creator.
“We are rebuilding the fine arts program and this is our major visiting artist this year in the Andover schools,” he said.
Robea Patrowicz, one of the teachers who submitted the grant request, said students are writing and illustrating their own small books in advance of Krozoczka’s visit.