The Artful Living Program

Everything man-made is art.

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
-William Butler Yeats

Children learn that they have the ability to create something that does not already exist.

Immersion in the arts enhances vision and creativity, increases academic performance, and stimulates leadership characteristics.

Program Summary

The Artful Living Program stimulates children to realize that they have the ability to create something that does not already exist.

  • Studies show a link between arts and leadership. Both are founded on vision and creativity.
  • The Artful Living Program was created to immerse developing minds in the fine arts to enhance vision and creativity.
  • The Program involves parents in their children’s creative and academic development.
  • The Artful Living Program provides a uniting collaboration among community organizations and the public schools.
  • The program is replicable for other school districts.

Phase I: Classroom Immersion

The earlier “effective nurture” is applied, the more effective it will be. This is why the Artful Living Program chose preschoolers as its audience.

The Artful Living Program:

  • Fine arts immersion reinforces creativity over an extended period of time.
  • Arts providers’ lessons reinforce teachers’ daily lesson plans and meet state educational standards.
  • Parents receive a weekly plan of the arts classes their children will experience.
  • Lessons are taught by professionally trained artists.
  • The Program can be easily replicated in other schools.

    The pilot program in the Massillon City preschool includes daily lessons in one of these fine arts: visual arts, literature, music, or dance. The response from teachers, parents, administrators, and observers for this phase of the Program has been enthusiastic.

Phase II: Family Environment

Children spend more time at home than they do at school. In order to enhance children’s exposure to the arts, the Artful Living Program has invited families to participate in the Program outside of the school environment.

The Artful Living Program:

  • Hosts regularly scheduled family meetings.
  • Offers art classes for all children in the family.
  • Presents helpful information for parents on topics of wellness, nutrition, local social services, and more.
  • Provides art supplies to all children in the family to use at home.

This phase invites the parents to become involved in their children’s education and creativity in a non-threatening environment.

Family feedback indicates a desire to extend this phase of the Program.

Phase III: Research

The Artful Living Program:

  • Has created a tracking process for measuring achievement throughout the students’ academic careers.
  • Creates a basis for establishing standards for early childhood development.
  • Evaluates each child with nationally-recognized test: Young Children's Achievement Test (YCAT) and Teaching Creativity in Action and Movement (TCAM).
  • Engage Faculty of Ashland University for data analysis.
  • Results of research from school year 2012-13 demonstrate a significant improvement in creativity for the experimental group (preschool children in Massillon City Schools) receiving lessons from The Artful Living Program, over the control group (preschool children from another Stark County Schol District) not receiving lessons from The Artful Living Program.

Download information:

The Artful Living Program Overview Trifold (PDF 1.1 MB)
The Artful Living Program Packet (PDF .1 MB)


The Ananda Center for the Arts
Ashland University, Stark Campus
Boys and Girls Club of Massillon
Canton Ballet
Canton City School District
Canton Museum of Art
Canton Symphony Orchestra
Massillon City Schools
Massillon Museum
Massillon Public Library
Stark County Educational Service Center

Advisory Board:

Maureen Ater, Gatehouse Ohio Media
Deanna Billman, Parent Representative
Mel Herncane, Boys and Girls Club of Massillon
Joyce Lemke, Educational Consultant
Kristi Muzi, Preschool Coordinator, Massillon City Schools
Tom Piccari, Arts Consultant, Stark County Educational Services Center
Robert Rohrer, Massillon City Schools (ret.)
Paul Stellar, Director, Ashland University, Massillon Branch
Vanessa Stergios, community activist
Lindsay Zimmerman, Aultman Career Academy, Former Director

Dr. Gary Zoldesy, Ashland University


First Merit Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
The Martha Holden Jennings Foundation
The Massillon Rotary Foundation
The Charity Rotch School of Kendal Foundation
Private Donors
Wilbur Arnold Memorial Fund
The Aultman Foundation
PNC Foundation
The Peter and Judith Schurman Fund, Stark Community Foundation

Massillon Walmart
Massillon City Schools
Canton City School District

Program Contact:

Chris Craft,
Director, The Artful Living Program
email Chris Craft


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