“Kids who are good at sports get so many opportunities for success. People cheer them on. Now we have developed reading programs in our schools. We make heroes out of readers. And we’ve developed math programs. They are the first kids to get the math shirts,” Black Fox Elementary school Principal Dr. Kim Fisher said.
“We don’t do any thing for kids who are really good at art.”
Fisher said she wants every child to have an opportunity to experience the feeling like “when you score that touchdown or you score that goal for your team.”
“We want every kid to find what they are good at,” Fisher said. “It gives them that moment of success and ... success has a ripple effect.”
Fisher she said this success can give students success in other areas.
The art initiative was started in January with the help of school parent Sara Cross.
Cross’ work has been featured at The Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga.
Fisher said this is something she has wanted to do for a long time, but never had the right person to take the lead.
Student are learning techniques by producing their own versions of famous works. Students also learn about the artist, while studying each style. Each project begins with a PowerPoint presentation about the artist and making a sketch of the piece they will be recreating.
“Each grade is learning a different artist, different style,” the art teacher said.
In the past, each classroom teacher was responsible for art. Many teachers had nice craft projects, but Fisher hoped the school would one day be able to offer students something more.
“Sara and I wanted something where students could actually learn the names of artists,” Fisher said.
She said she hopes the new initiative will give students a knowledge and appreciation of art.
“The kids are loving it,” Cross said. “They are so creative. There is a lot of talent in this school.”
Last year, Cross volunteered with her daughter’s kindergarten class teaching art. The teacher approached Fisher about having Cross provide something for all the students.
The school invested $700 in supplies for Cross to use in instruction. Additional items came from unused supplies in teacher’s classrooms.
Cross said she also tries to show students how household items, such as cotton swabs, can be used as art supplies.
Cross is planning on completing three major art projects with the students before the end of the year.
Cross said she hopes to do the same thing in each grade each year so students will have something to look forward to.
“There are so many students ... that are slower at the reading and math, but they are excelling at the art,” Cross said.
Plans are also being made for an art show where the best of the students work will be showcased.
Cross said she chose artists for each grade based on the difficulty level. She said she wants every student to enjoy the projects.
“It’s really fun to see the excitement,” Cross said.
The new art initiative gave Fisher an idea for a special School Board Appreciation week gift. Some of the student’s best art work was scanned and turned into “thank you.” Messages for the cards were composed by the fifth-grade students at the school.
Cross works around the teachers schedules, serving in a part-time role. She has taken art classes at Chattanooga State Community College and plans to return to complete her degree in the future.