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Tri-District Arts Consortium Continues to Grow Young Artists After 30 Years

COLUMBIA, SC – The arts make a difference. That has served as the theme of the Tri-District Arts Consortium (Tri-DAC) for over 30 years.

Formed in 1985, Tri-DAC has offered fine arts summer programs to rising sixth through rising ninth grade artistically gifted and talented students in Lexington-Richland School District Five, Lexington School District One and Richland School District Two.

“The students have made this program what it has become today, which is over 30 years of successful fine arts programs,” said Tri-DAC director Donna Wilson. “They are so eager and so excited to be a part of Tri-DAC. It is such a great opportunity for the students because they meet others who are like-minded from three different districts and form friendships that, for some, could be for life.”

Over 450 students were admitted into the program this year after going through a selection process. For three weeks, students had the opportunity to choose from creative writing, dance, music, theatre and visual art.

Rising freshman at Spring Hill High School Megan Tapley has spent four summers at Tri-DAC in visual arts and won this year’s logo design competition. She credits her hands-on experiences from the summer program to winning, and hopes someday it will blossom into a film career.

“These four years have allowed me to really learn what my art form is,” Tapley said. “It has given me the chance to learn new techniques in design. My drawing has really improved over the years, which is critical because that is the basic method of any art form.”

District Five coordinator of gifted programs Tami Richardson says the reason Tri-DAC has become so successful is because of the family atmosphere.

“This is an incredible experience for not only our students, but for the other two districts here as well,” Richardson said. “It is so much fun to see the passion and desire these students have for the arts. Coming into the program, most of the students do not know each other, but the bond is instant. We all become one big Tri-DAC family!”

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