Over the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, A Center for Cultural Arts’ history, we have endeavored to find ways to make culturally enriching educational opportunities accessible to students through their local schools. Understanding the importance of exposure to the arts during early childhood development these endeavors have been close to our hearts; and with an Art Center deeply rooted in the core of our community, we’ve taken this pursuit seriously. In 2017, the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, A Center for Cultural Arts launched an extension of the Cultural Arts Enrichment Program (a program which hosts culturally enriching initiatives in the form of fine art events, workshops, exhibitions, classes, etc…) This extension focused primarily on the desire to give students an opportunity to experience the arts through all-expense provided Continued Fine Art Education scholarships awarded to Smiths Station area schools through equal distribution, seasonally. In response, over 30 scholarships have been awarded to area school students. To further increase awareness and support for the arts in education participating area schools have welcomed the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art’s provision of After School Art Class Programs made available through host schools. Since 2017, After School Art Classes have served participating area schools including Wacoochee Elementary of Salem, Alabama, West Smiths Station Elementary and East Smiths Station Elementary.
In the aftermath of the March 3rd Lee County Storms, the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, A Center for Cultural Arts answered a request from school faculty at West Smiths Station Elementary to serve and assist students through art activities upon their return to school following the traumatic and devastating events. Art Center founders assembled a group of volunteers comprised of studio affiliates, school parents and elder art students to serve during a week long art event, making the healing gift of art accessible to nearly 900 students and school faculty. This community service event was fully funded through the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art with individual contributions of art supplies, and the gift of time from volunteers who traveled from far and near. In recognition of the students at WSSES, the entire school and faculty were invited to exhibit their artwork at the Alabama State Capitol. The exhibition was titled Smiths Station Strong and hosted by the Alabama State Capitol April- May 2019. This event was possible through the curatorial efforts of the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art and through the encouragement of Alabama State Representative Debbie Wood. Recognizing our ability to do more, we’ve pressed on since the storm.
Through collaborations with local and state government leaders paired with countless meetings between local and county educators, we’ve worked ceaselessly to develop ways to make cultural and fine arts education consistently available to area school students.
In the Fall of 2019, the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art A Center of Cultural Arts, will debut two new ART IN SCHOOLS programs.
ART IN SCHOOLS | Seasonal Art Classes
ART IN SCHOOLS | Seasonal Art Classes will be provided to West Smiths Station Elementary School via an arts education grant awarded through endeavors made by Alabama State Representative-District 38- Debbie Wood.This program will afford the recipient school with a seasonal art class for Pre-K – 5th Grade Classes. Each season, the funded program will provide Pre-K- 5th grade classes with an educational and culturally enriching class in art composition featuring methods in technical construction and design through the practice of academic fine art disciplines. To reinforce the positive addition of this program, elementary school teachers will provide seasonal classroom exhibitions in recognition of their class’ accomplishments in design and art composition study.
ART IN SCHOOLS | Weekly 6th Grade Art Classes
ART IN SCHOOLS | Weekly Art Classes will be provided to all Elementary School 6th Grade Classes in Smiths Station and Salem, Alabama. This program is made possible through the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, A Center for Cultural Arts in collaboration with the Lee County Board of Education for 6th Grade Classes of Smiths Station and Salem Alabama Elementary Schools. As a focused priority of Smiths Station and Salem, Alabama Elementary School’s 6th Grade Program, ART IN SCHOOLS | Weekly Art Classes will provide all 6th grade students with a comprehensive education in visual arts, traditional design composition, constructive skill cultivation and cultural arts appreciation. Students will conclude their 6th grade class year with established portfolios in art study and a 6th Grade Fine Art Exhibition (the venue host for this exhibition will be announced.)
Alabama State Representative- District 38 Debbie Wood
Lee County Board of Education
Wacoochee Elementary School
West Smiths Station Elementary School
East Smiths Station Elementary School
South Smiths Station Elementary School
The Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, A Center for Cultural Arts
To learn more about The Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, A Center for Cultural Arts click on the directory at the top of this page.
Click here to listen to a recent EdCast from Lee County Schools in conversation with Sarah West (Episode 023)
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