MT. PLEASANT — Art from the young Picassos and Monets of the Mt. Pleasant Community School District will adorn the walls of Henry County’s Courthouse beginning this Sunday.
In observance of Youth Art Month, which is celebrated in March, the district is featuring over 300 pieces by art students from every building of the district.
Wanda Broeker, the visual arts teacher for Van Allen and Salem Elementary school, said the district follows the state’s lead in celebrating and featuring student work.
“All throughout the state, they do Youth Art Month. They celebrate it at the capitol. It’s just important to celebrate what we love and what we do and show off the kids’ art work,” Broeker said.
As the elementary art teacher, Broeker said she tries to feature at least one piece by each student within their kindergarten through fifth grade experience.
“Some of these kids, maybe don’t excel [in other classes]. This is what they excel in,” she said. “The others are always getting recognized in the classroom and this is a way to recognize these kids for what they do.”
The art teacher added access to art in public schools is important because “it’s a break from the routine of a classroom.”
“It’s a different outlet, just like P.E. or music. And just the creativity for those kids. We try to bring their creativity out, problem solving. We can hit that all within art projects,” she said.
Art is a required class for students through middle school. Once in high school, students can choose to take classes as an elective.
At the elementary level, projects often include cross-curricular instruction such as teaching students about the parts of a tree or the history of churches through a project with stained glass windows, Broeker explained.
“It teaches a lot of hand-eye coordination, a lot of our purpose statements are about hand-eye coordination and improving their fine motor skills and that’s something big we try to gear in at least in the elementary level,” she said.
While the younger students’ pieces are generally dictated by projects assigned by instructors, high school students often use the display at the courthouse to exhibit their portfolios.
“In the high school, you’re going to find kids who really excel in art and they may even have one more class in art in a day. A lot of those kids will have their own corner, their whole portfolio, so we try to keep those pieces together,” Broeker said.
Family and friends are invited to the opening reception of the 2020 Youth Art Month Exhibit at the Henry County Courthouse on March 1, which begins at 1 p.m. Pieces from the exhibit will be on display through Wednesday, March 25.