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Danville Independent Schools

Jane Dewey

Jane Dewey, Director of Arts Education for Danville Independent Schools, has received the Education Award in the 2021 Governor’s Awards in the Arts. The Education Award is one of nine categories of Kentucky’s most prestigious arts award. 

The Kentucky Arts Council accepts nominations for the awards annually and recommends honorees to the governor. News on a virtual awards ceremony to honor the 2021 Governor’s Awards in the Arts recipients is forthcoming. 

Each year, the Kentucky Arts Council commissions an artist in the state to create pieces of art to serve as recipients’ awards. The artist for the 2021 awards was Jefferson County glass artist Ann Klem. 

Dewey has held her position with Danville Schools for 22 years and has been in arts education for 27 years. 

She was nominated for the award by her colleagues statewide. 

“It’s a great honor that they think that highly of me, to put me in the pool of people and the pool of arts educators who have won this award in the past. Their work is such a high level that to be thought of with those other folks is great.”

She said, “It is just an amazing honor to receive this award. You don’t always think about the value of the work you’re doing while you’re doing it — you’re doing it. And it’s for the students, and it’s for the community, and it’s for schools and your district, and to have that recognized is just lovely.”

Dewey came to the district following the renovation of Gravely Hall Performing Arts Center. The district decided to hire a consultant, and Dewey was asked what she could see the job being. So Dewey came to Danville and built the Director of Arts Education position for herself. 

At the time, one of her guiding directives was to turn Gravely Hall into a space used all the time, used by students, for students. The center went from only being open occasionally for play performances to seeing about 30,000 people coming in and out during a given school year. 

“My guiding light is to always make arts opportunities for students,” Dewey said. “Give students more arts — more arts is better. That’s what I do.”

Among other responsibilities, Dewey teaches theater classes, coordinates arts integration districtwide, writes and implements grants and plays a role in coming up with projects to engage hundreds of students in arts activities and learning. She establishes relationships with alumni who give back to the Danville Schools arts programs and act as visiting artists, she helps organize the Frank X Walker Literary Festival each year as well as student visits to Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts and the Arts Center of the Bluegrass, and so much more. 

“This award, while honoring my work — and I’m very grateful for that — also honors the work of a lot of people in our state who are doing really great work in the arts,” she said. 

She said she is thankful to work with her colleagues across the district who are dedicated to arts education, from the primary level at Mary G. Hogsett Primary School to the teachers at Danville High School. 

About the award, she said, “It shines a light on arts education in our state. It shines a light on how important it is.”

In all of her years with the district, she said one thing that has not changed is the district’s commitment to the visual and performing arts.  

“It’s about what we can give to our students so as they move forward, they eventually become really productive and engaged citizens,” she said. 

“I love the Danville Schools,” she said. “Both of my children graduated from the Danville Schools, and both of them had fabulous opportunities in the Danville Schools that took them on to where they are. And it’s not just my kids. It’s every kid. And we keep looking for ways to do better.”

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