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Bellaire Elementary School Students Paint Mural With Local Artist

For students living in more rural areas, museums and the arts aren’t always a stone’s throw away.

But a grant is bringing art to students, and putting a paint brush in their hands.

9&10’s Sarah Grimmer shares the story behind one local school’s soon to be masterpiece.

A Bellaire elementary school art department has been awarded more than $3,000.

Now rather than just teaching students technical art skills, a new project has students performing them.

“I think it’s amazing! This isn’t an everyday chance, not a lot of people get to do this either like we get to meet a famous artist and paint something,” says 4th grader, Ethan Lambert.

Ethan Lambert is one of many John Rodgers Elementary School students with a rare opportunity to experience art.

“With us being rural and not being able to be in the city to go to a museum and have an activity, things like that, it just makes it a lot nicer,” says John Rodgers Art Teacher, Willa Graham.

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs grant is giving students a hands-on learning opportunity from renowned Traverse City artist, Glenn Wolff, who says hands-on experience is the best way to learn.

“What I leaned the most from was sort of being a fly on the wall in artists’ studios and seeing how it’s done apart from an art class or being in school to see somebody actually working and that’s what I think is really valuable about this project,” says artist, Glenn Wolff.

Students are working with the artist twice a week to make a three part mural for the whole school to see.

“I think it’s really cool cause we’re doing something that everyone gets to see,” says Lambert. “And we worked really hard on this. This isn’t just a ‘we threw it together job,’ it took us a couple weeks to do this.”

Because as Wolff is showing students art tips, they’re seeing new opportunities for their future.

“Sometimes it’s hard to talk a student into being an artist because they think it’s like being an astronaut it’s just not feasible to do,” Says Graham. “So to see a real live person come in and do this in my school, really brings more meaning to the students and they can learn more hands on wise.”

The mural portrays Northern Michigan’s beauty and will be showcased on school’s walls this spring. 

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