Cycle or walk for arts education
Ride & Walk4 Art: Sunday, March 19, 2017
8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
To really experience the spectacular Calaveras spring, you need to get out of your car and take some time to savor the wildflowers blooming across the Kelly green hills, and the streams and ponds that reflect the sky. At the annual Ride & Walk4Art event on Sunday, March 19 at the Calaveras County Arts Council gallery in San Andreas, cyclists and walkers can enjoy this beauty and help fund arts in education at the same time.
Cyclist Rob Williams has a couple of motives for organizing this event. “I want kids to be exposed to the arts,” he said. “It’s a way to help local parents and administrators say art matters.” But he has other motives. “I also want people to start biking and walking in the foothills.”
Don't worry about sweating too hard; this fundraiser is more about fun than it is about mileage. The bike ride is a slow-and-go ride allowing participants the option of riding 1 to 24 round-trip miles along Pool Station Road, one of Calaveras County’s most beautiful country roads for cycling in early springtime. Williams insists that the ride isn’t that difficult. The distance and elevation change of this 12-mile route makes it a Category 3 Hors Categorie bike ride. “It’s a challenge,” Williams said, “but it’s still doable. Riders should not give up. During the whole ride, the cyclist is rewarded with absolutely beautiful views of the rural foothills.”
The ride distance isn’t cast in stone; cyclists can opt to turn around at anytime to avoid hills, or they can continue 12 miles to turn around at State Highway 4. Tired cyclists will find rest and snack stations at mile 3, 5 and 12.
The walk is an easy 1-mile path through Turner Park in San Andreas, and walkers will receive raffle tickets for each mile walked to win special prizes (Cyclists will get raffle tickets at the end of their rides). Live music and an art show featuring art about bicycling and walking will make the day festive, and a traditional Calaveras County-chicken-in-a-barrel barbecue with fixin's will feed hungry cyclists and walkers.
Have fun and raise money for art education
More importantly, according to Williams, Ride & Walk4Art is the major fundraiser at the arts council to support arts education in Calaveras County schools.
“Children in Calaveras County have limited chances to learn about dance, music, visual art and dramatic arts,” Williams said. “While parents and teachers do pay attention to exposing students to art education, Ride & Walk4Art, which is supported by local businesses and participants, provides funds to expand and enrich the arts in schools.”
Williams has seen how arts education can help students. “During my 25 year tenure as principal in Modesto City Schools, students in each grade level attended district wide art performances paid for by local businesses and Stanislaus Partners in Education. The art performances included Fairy Tale Plays, Holiday Modesto Symphony Performances, puppet shows and performances showing cultural artistic traditions. All performances were designed for young children, and students were never disappointed; they would return to school excited about being treated to a day at the theater!”
But the arts were about more than entertainment, Williams said. “Students attending each performance were taught how to enjoy and behave. An important part of a students’ school experience was to sit quietly through a performance and to show appreciation for artists. And, hopefully as young adults, they will patronize arts in their own communities.”
This annual event is part of the Calaveras County Arts Council, which for over 35 years has sponsored arts education programs in all county schools. The Council has helped school administrators and teachers provide students with quality art performances in classrooms and assemblies, paint historic murals on school walls, teach art classes, and hire theater groups like B Street Theatre from Sacramento.
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