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Improving art education in Collierville

Art education not only gives students an opportunity to embrace their creativity, it also has major benefits including lower dropout rates, lower disciplinary infractions and even higher SAT scores. Every day, a new set of students with different approaches to creativity enter Collierville’s rich art classrooms, depleting their finite resources as crayons run down and paints hit their pans. This constant use can be taxing on art teachers, requiring constant replenishment and limiting opportunities for new or unique projects. We are happy to contribute to classrooms right here in Collierville by providing art teachers with materials through our grant program.

Ashley Bibbs at Tara Oaks Elementary requested self-portrait materials to teach her students lessons on identity. From the grant, each student in her art class now has their own mirror to view their self-image. Self-reflections encourage students to examine different facets of their identities, think more deeply about their values, interests, and beliefs and offer insight into not only their lives but the lives of others. When students learn about each other’s identities, it helps create a safe place of respect and tolerance, nurturing the citizens of our future. The mirrors granted to her classroom have no glass, so they are safe for younger students to use, and durable so students can use the mirrors for years to come.

Teacher Abigail Mahoney at West Collierville Middle School wanted her students to have sturdy foundations in art – literally and figuratively. CEF granted her class upgraded art tables to improve students’ focus and creativity. The previous workspaces made distracting noises and wobbled, affecting different artistic processes. Now when working on fragile projects like pottery, students can use their full potential to create a piece of art that has a lower chance of being ruined. These tables will supplement art students at West Collierville Middle School into the future.

Ceramics is taught in classrooms as a fun art form, but it also helps improve motor skills and general creativity. At Collierville High School, students look forward to their ceramics unit. When students dedicate hours to brainstorming, sculpting and glazing their own pieces, they are excited to finally fire the piece in the kiln. Unfortunately, accidents can happen and the delicate fire brick that makes up the kiln can crack, which can render it unusable. Art teacher Jennifer Harants has experienced this unfortunate incident, and to avoid making the same mistake, purchased a KilnShield with her grant from CEF. The shield ensures the safety of the top layer fire bricks for a long time, saving students’ art, time and money.

Through our teacher grant program, we have the ability to transform classrooms and education. Our goal is to grant every teacher’s request in our community. Teachers, keep an eye out for the next grant cycle application! You can find updates on our Facebook page or on our website.


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