May 17, 2008 - Student Art Show in Blairsville, Georgia
The 6th Annual Art Show - "A Feast for the Eyes and Ears" was recently presented by the Blairsville PTO and Union County School System. The Union County High School gym was filled with exhibits featuring artwork and video musical performances by students in grades K-12.
Many creative talents were showcased at the event. Visitors strolled around the gym while admiring the artwork. Many asked, "When did our kids start producing quality pieces of art like this?"
Union County Schools are blessed with exceptional art and music departments. Faculty members Jane Edison, Sandy Sharrock, Sylvia Garner, Molly Marsh, Doris Durbin, Alicia Covington, Doug Roberts, and Kerry Rittenhouse make sure that local students have the chance to learn about and to participate in the arts.
Primary students meet with Jane Edison once a week during the entire year. Her goal is to ensure that each student gets a good foundation in art/design through exploring different media, discussing the elements of design, and experiencing a variety or project work.
Students in the elementary grades experience a variety of media including oil pastels, crayons, scratchboard, watercolor, pencil, tempra paint, collage, and clay. Sandy Sharrock directs the 3 rd graders as they finish the year with self portraits in crayon. Ms. Sharrock also teaches 4 th and 5 th graders. They learn about balance, rhythm, repetition, depth, dimension, and color theory (while having fun).
Sylvia Garner teaches nine week art sessions to middle school students. Drawing fundamentals, shading techniques, and the color wheel are all introduced at this level. Garner says, "This year we also explored weaving. Students advanced from a simple over-under basketweave to being able to visualize, design, write, and weave an original pattern."
Molly Marsh takes over in high school. Students in grades 9-12 are offered an opportunity to take Visual Arts as an academic elective that counts as a credit toward either college prep or tech prep diplomas. Classes include pottery, drawing, painting, portfolio development, and sculpture. Subject matter and themes vary in each successive level to allow the students a chance to explore applications to real world experiences in more depth.
Media Specialist Doris Durbin is in charge of the Union County High School Writer's Club. Every year her students publish the Pathways Literary Magazine. The students read submissions and decide which ones will be accepted for publication. They type, edit, layout, and proof-read the pages, design covers, indexes, and tables of contents, and are involved in all aspects of the publication until it is sent to the printer.
Alicia Covington directs the Middle School and High School Chorus which includes a mixed chorus, women's chorus, and men's ensemble. There are also classes in piano and guitar techniques. Chorus students learn a variety of styles from classical to contemporary. The High School Chorus recently traveled to New York and performed at the United Nations Headquarters.
Doug Roberts offers instruction in band at all grade levels. The Middle School Honor Band is made up of 7 th and 8 th grade students. The 8 th grade band performs four concerts per year (Christmas, Festival, Spring, and at one high school football game).
Kerry Rittenhouse directs the Union County High School Band. Known as the "Pride of the Mountains", the high school band students participate in annual concerts and musical events throughout the year. The band students are exposed to and participate in symphonic, marching, and jazz musical experiences. Highlights from this year include an overall 3 rd Place AA Silver division finish at the Fort Mountain Marching Contest with the Color Guard winning best overall. The band traveled to Chicago in November to march in McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade.
This year, Band students and Band Boosters have set a goal of raising money to purchase new Marching Band uniforms. Any inquiries regarding band uniforms, future fundraising suggestions, and performing band trips should be directed to a band booster or Mr. Kerry Rittenhouse.
Parents should be proud of the Union County schools. Please encourage your children to take as many art and music classes as possible. The arts and music programs offered at Union County schools encourage young people to strive for excellence. These types of classes also help develop creativity, responsibility, and life-long friendships. Congratulation to all of the young people, artists, musicians, teachers, and PTO members for putting on such an amazing art show! Keep up the good work.