LAGRANGE, Ga. – When the West Side Arts Magnet School Closed, due to budget cuts, dozens of instruments were left sitting unused in the empty school. Some very special people got their hands on these instruments and came up the a plan to get the strings back in the hands of children.
Carol Yin’s daughter, 17 year old Christine, loves playing the violin in the LaGrange Youth Orchestra. Carol attributes her daughter’s love of music to her conductor Celeste Myall and the now closed West Side Arts Magnet School.
“You know we’re really sad about it because I know at one time we county the number of the students in the strings ensemble and 2/3 were West Side students,” says parent Carol Yin
Some of those instruments that sat unused in the empty school, now look like this. This is the LaGrange Symphony’s “Painted Strings Project.” An idea to give unusable instruments a new life, and a way to raise money for youth programs.
“We have these instruments that are coming to us and painted by artists. Musicians are coming together our youth programs are now exploding and we need funding,” says Liz Greer.
Local artists Chris and Pepper Hagebach donated their time and talents to paint the unusable instruments. The hope is to raise $10,000, money needed to pay for an instrument starting at $200 a piece.
“The community is incredibly supportive. The Symphony has stepped forward in a great way. Our percentage of the budget has increased dramatically since I was there,” says LaGrange Youth Orchestra Conductor, Celeste Myall.
The usable instruments will be available for students to use for lessons at the Boys and Girls Club, getting music back in the hands and hearts of children.
“It’s dear to my heart because I know the instruments come from West Side. Even if it closed there is still good coming from the Fine Arts Program,” says Carol Yin.
You can see all of these beautiful instruments at the Cochrane Gallery in Downtown LaGrange. If you can’t make it there you can see everything online. The bidding online, so it’s easy to support the arts in LaGrange.