HALEYVILLE - Every student has some sort of talent, and art is a way of bringing to the surface those talents expressing creativity that opens up doors of opportunity.
The first ever STEAM Art Expo set Thursday, Feb. 21, at all campuses at Haleyville City School, is a way of showcasing art from each and every student in the system, while raising funds to keep the STEAM initiative thriving.
The event is scheduled for 6-8 p.m., with the window of the public attending to see the students’ showcased art from 6-7 p.m., followed by the selling of art to the public from 7-8 p.m.
This way, parents will have the first opportunity of purchasing their own children’s art before the art goes to the public for sale at 7 p.m., school officials said.
At the elementary school, framed art from kindergarten through 2nd grade students will be displayed in the first gym, with framed art from grades 3-5 displayed in the second gym.
At the middle school, framed art will be on display in the gymnasium, with the same true at the high school cafeteria.
“It is good for the school and the community in the fact that it is a way to unify the school and the community,” stressed Candy Garner, STEAM coach for HCS.
“It is important for the community to feel welcome, not just at a football game or a basketball game or a sporting event, but to truly feel welcome in the walls of our buildings. It just opens it up in a different way.
“It’s just a way for the community to get to know our students,” Garner added.
STEAM stand for Science Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics, a concept that has literally skyrocketed at HCS over the past year, teaching students fun and innovative methods of learning in these subject areas using the hands on approach. The teacher under STEAM serves as the guide from the sidelines as the students explore and learn the concepts at center stage.
In fact, the STEAM initiative gathered so much “steam” that Garner was hired as STEAM coordinator for HCS.
As a way to keep the valuable STEAM related projects and activities ongoing, funding is needed, so the Art Expo will be a way of showcasing to not only parents but the public the artistic achievement of all students, while giving parents and public a chance to purchase the art, much like a professional art exhibit.
Although at least one piece of art will be displayed from each student, some more artistics students may have more than one work on display, Garner explained.
“It is definitely a companion of what we believe is best for kids as far as the STEAM initiative and integrating art into what we do every day,” noted HCS Superintendent Dr. Holly Sutherland.
A large population of students at HCS see art as their gift or talent. “So, if we’re not careful, we get caught up in the superstars academically and the superstars athletically,” Dr. Sutherland said.
The concept of the upcoming expo is to highlights these artistic gifts and talents, in order to make sure these artistic talents are not overlooked, school officials said.
“Art Expo is a phenomenal way to reach talents,” added Dr. Sutherland. “This is a way for us to highlight some of these kids’ talent and expose those kids’ talents to the community, which is always amazing. It makes those kids feel special.”
Art from students will be set up campus wide in a gallery type setting by the company Artome of Atlanta, Georgia. Student artwork sent to this company will be matted, framed and brought to HCS for a professional looking display.
Also, the public attending this event will be in for a live treat, with students in the performance arts displaying their talents.
Piano students of Ann Mott, for instance, will perform on keyboard at the foyer of the elementary school, while the jazz ensemble will be performing at the stage area of the cafetorium of the middle school. Plans are for music to also be performed live at the high school, organizers said.
“We don’t have a lot of avenues for those kids to express those talents here and highlight some of those gifts and talents of those kids we sometimes meet,” Dr. Sutherland said.
“What we’re hoping that in this art show, we can have some sustainability money that will go back into the STEM program,” Garner said.
At each school, this matted and framed art will be for sale, at least one piece of art from every student in all grade levels at HCS, from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, Garner explained.
“In addition to that, teachers have displayed in their hallways just a plethora of other art they have done all throughout the year and other learning projects, not just necessarily just art,” Garner said.
The framed pieces of art will be for sale, she noted.
Elementary students have been doing their part to prepare for the art expo by designing some projects only for display purposes at the Expo.
Students in Brooke Yarbrough’s class have been doing extensive art projects by designing Egyptian pyramids, mummies and other related items to be displayed.
The interior chambers of the pyramids have been built onto four sections which can be placed on the base of the pyramid. The sides of pyramids will be placed on that foundation and connected in order to hide the treasures underneath.
Back in September, the school got with Artome and set the date for the expo, with the company mailing Garner 1,800 sheets of paper.
Students did their art projects either on that paper or another piece of paper, with the deadline of Jan. 30 to have all of their art completed, said Garner.
These works were shipped to the company which will mat, frame the works, bring the items back to the school in large trucks, come in and display the works in gallery form.
If a member of the public, for instance, wants to purchase the same art as a parent, the company can make reproductions of that work.
Parents must sign a permission slip stating they do not mind their child’s art being reproduced, according to Garner.
If a parent has pre-ordered a piece of art, that item will have a Sold sticker on it in the gallery, she added.
“Even if they don’t want to buy anything, it’s just a fun night out,” Garner stated.
Pat Carter, volunteer art teacher at the elementary school, has been helping create pre-expo excitement among her students.
“It is absolutely fabulous because every school will be involved,” Carter pointed out.
“And because of that involvement, every parent in the school system is invited.”
An invitation has also been extended to the Winston County Arts Council to attend, she said.
“It’s going to open our doors and let the community see that we’re phototrophic enough we want these children to have something outside of just testing,” Carter said.
“We encourage the whole community to come out,” Dr. Sutherland urged. “Even if you don’t have a kid here, if you just love seeing art and you love seeing kids perform and you want to be a part of that.”
Those who may not want to purchase art are invited just to walk through the halls in each school and see and hear the creative talent of students, Dr. Sutherland added.
Garner stressed this event is vital to help the STEAM program continue with various programs and projects giving students a hands-on feel to learning.
Learning has progressed far beyond paper and pencil as both students and teachers are learning collaborative projects in working hands on learning activities in a team approach.
“By the nature of the beast, it’s just more expensive to teach that way,” said Garner. “What we want to have is funding on hand so that when teachers need things for different activities, they can email me for a (purchase order) to get some of those things.
“It’s sustainability money really,” she added. “You don’t want teachers having to spend their own money.”
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.