Area students to show off art work

Published 9:23 am Friday, December 11, 2009

All Selma City schools and 10 Dallas County Schools will each send up to 15 pieces of artwork to the Capitol for the State Superintendent’s Visual Arts Exhibit in February, but until this time, Dallas County Schools have chosen for the first time to display all entries at the Selma Mall until Dec. 15 as part of the Dallas County Schools Superintendent’s Visual Arts Exhibit.

“Our purpose in displaying them is to let the public know our students are engaging in visual arts,” said Zella Ford, district arts coordinator for Dallas County Schools. “The arts program is alive and well in the Dallas County public schools system.”

Tamaria Alexander, a kindergartener at Salem Elementary, draws “because I’m a kid,” Alexander said.

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Her entry is abstract art. When crafting her pictures, “I take my time,” Alexander said.

She estimated this picture took her seven minutes to draw and color, and she made sure to use red because it is her favorite color.

“It’s got a lot of color crayons on it,” Alexander said. Alexander and her grandmother have already visited the display, which opened on Dec. 4.

“She loves crayons,” said Debra McDaniels, on-site coordinator at Salem Elementary.

McDaniels works with teachers at Salem as part of the Alabama Black Belt Arts Initiative.

As part of the initiative, the school also brought local artist Tammy White in to work with the students, making three-dimensional art projects with the students, such as tissue paper flowers.

Salem does not have a specific art teacher, so classroom instructors must incorporate art into their lessons.

“I just asked the teachers to have the students create visual arts with their own ideas, no stencils or things like that,” McDaniels said. “The students really had the opportunity to be creative.”

Judging for the entries will be Dec. 15 at 1 p.m., after which, entries will be taken down.

Winning entries will be selected by a panel from Arts Revive in three age categories of kindergarten through sixth, seventh through eighth and ninth through 12th grades.

Selected pieces will then move to the state level competition by the end of January.

Once at the state level, students in kindergarten to sixth grade will receive a certificate of participation.

Students seventh to 12th grade will be judged by art teachers from universities for first, second, third and honorable mention in either the two-dimensional or photography/digital categories.

Judges will consider items such as depth and quality of the art. Selected entries from the state will be displayed at the Old Supreme Court library at the old Capitol building in Montgomery from Feb. 8 to 19. Art will be professionally hung.

“It’s a nice way to acknowledge the students’ work,” said Martha Lockett, arts education specialist for the state department of education. “It really shows the difference when you have an art teacher and when you don’t.” The exhibit will receive between 400 and 500 pieces.

“One of our missions is to exhibit either art of historical exhibits that reflect the Alabama history, culture or living in Alabama,” said Christine Carl, sites director of Alabama Historical Commission. “We love partnering with the Department of Education because we can see what out future leaders are doing.”

The state exhibit has been in existence for more than 10 years. Dallas County schools participating are Brantley Elementary, Bruce K. Craig Elementary, Five Points Elementary School, Valley Grande Elementary, Dallas County High and Tipton Middle.