Cheaha Creative Arts

Students with art they created at the Kilby House on the campus of Anniston High School in June 2016. The art classes are a project between Cheaha Creative Arts and Anniston City Schools.

Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star

An Anniston nonprofit that offers arts programs to local students recently received a $19,780 state grant to expand the group’s offerings.

Cheaha Creative Arts in February learned it would receive a grant from the Alabama Arts Education Initiative. Rose Tolliver-Munford, executive director of Cheaha Creative Arts, said the money will pay for a teacher to offer visual arts instruction to second- through fifth-grade students at Golden Springs Elementary School.

For the last six years, Cheaha Creative Arts has provided a visual art program to Anniston City Schools. The group also offers arts programs like photography classes and piano lessons to students throughout the county at the Anniston Performing Arts Center.

Cheaha Creative Arts also will include students with special needs in the new program at Golden Springs. The project starts in August.

Munford said research overwhelmingly shows that exposure to the arts helps students throughout their lives.

“We will see children who love school, who have found themselves, who realize that, ‘I can do things that will give me a better outlook,’” she said.

Munford said Anniston City Schools Superintendent Darren Douthitt encouraged her to attend a grant-writing seminar associated with the program and to apply for the money.

“Without hesitation she and one of her board members jumped on it,” Douthitt said.

Munford said the administrators will track student outcomes throughout the first year of the program. She said the group’s hope is to get funding from the city of Anniston to expand the program to middle and high school students.

Munford also said Cheaha Creative Arts in August will introduce a drum program to fourth- and fifth-grade students in Anniston City Schools as well as one Calhoun County elementary school, if approved.

For more information about Cheaha Creative Arts, call 256-473-7707 or go to

Assistant Metro Editor Daniel Gaddy: 256-235-3560. On Twitter @DGaddy_Star.

I'm the assistant metro editor for The Anniston Star. I edit, post online stories and write the occasional story.