March is Youth Art Month. The annual event emphasizes the value of art education for all children. One of the main purposes of Youth Art Month is to develop divergent and critical thinking, multicultural awareness and technical, communication and expressive skills.
Initiated in 1961, The Art & Creative Materials Institute in cooperation with the National Art Education Association expanded the program in 1969. It's been celebrated nationwide since that time.
Students' art work may be displayed any where throughout the community. This year the goal of Beth Hoke, president of the Art Education Association of Indiana, is to have an art display in every court house in Indiana.
Art teachers in Clay County worked with their students for this event during weekly art classes. Many also gave instruction and encouragement for students to create projects independently.
Northview art teachers are: Carolyn Phillips, Amy Wetnight, Kim Calkins and Traci Miller. Diana Hines and Steve Page teach at North Clay Middle School.
Clay City Middle School and High School art teacher is Peggy Taylor. The elementary art teachers are Rhea Hood-Clay City/ Staunton, Jerry Penry-Forest Park/Jackson Township, Brett Haviland-Meridian/Eastside and Debbie Metz-Van Buren.
In Brazil, the county's youth will have their art work displayed at the Clay County Courthouse, Riddell National Bank and Wal-Mart. Various businesses throughout Clay City will have exhibits available to the public. The art work shows a lot of talent, creativity and diversification.
Art teacher Rhea Hood said that her students were very enthusiastic and came up with some very original ideas.
"While most of the pictures are class lessons," Hood said, "some students got their idea and did the work totally on their own."
One ambiguous crayon drawing at the courthouse, done by Madison Jackson, a third grader at Clay City Elementary, is almost haunting. The first impression is of a serene landscape with a green tree fronting a white clouded blue horizon and people looking up at a descending object in the sky titled "Almost Home".
At a closer look, the viewer sees that the descending object is a burning rocket ship and the faces on the people express shock. Hood explained that Madison chose to draw her interpretation of the Columbia Space Shuttle tragedy.
Recently, Northview teacher Traci Miller and several students discussed two-dimensional art while assembling some art pieces at the Riddell Bank.
Senior Steven Trackwell said of art class and his colored pencil drawing, "It gives you a chance to express your creativity instead of straining your brain on academics."
Northview sophomore Devin Whittington talked about his mixed media collage and why he takes art. "I took it because it will help my career interest to become an architect."
Miller thinks there is a lot of talent in Clay County.
"We encourage and welcome the public to come out and see the fine art work of Clay Community students," Miller said.