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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 5, 2015) - Eric Breitenbach, a documentary filmmaker and senior professor in the School of Photography at Daytona State College, has teamed up with art educator Kathy Maloney Johnson on a new film that examines the role of the arts as a critical component of elementary school education.

A Certain Magic Wand was shot over a period of three months in Johnson's K-8 grade art classroom at St. Peter Catholic School in DeLand. The 22-minute documentary draws a parallel between art and student success in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines.

"We wanted to suggest that the arts don't exist in a vacuum, that they are crucial to student success in all disciplines, including science, math and technology," Breitenbach said, adding that the film is a work of activism. "Without the life lessons learned from the arts and humanities, how will we ever know what to do with the extraordinary technology we possess? Technology without the human element is at best a half-empty shell, at worst counterproductive, even dangerous."

In one of the film's scenes, Johnson suggests that art helps to develop young students' ability to observe and perceive the world around them, critical skills required for anyone pursuing careers in the sciences.

The film will screen during Daytona State's Academic Excellence Symposium, to be held on Friday, March 6, from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.; screening at 2:45 p.m. in the Hosseini Center on the college's Daytona Beach Campus, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd.

Other screenings are available by request. For details, call (386) 506-3542 or email BreiteE@DaytonaState.edu.

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