Martinsville Middle School Students Get Creative After School

On Tuesday, students from Martinsville Middle School's After School Artists program gathered at Piedmont Arts for a year-end exhibition of their work. Fifteen students participated in this year's program, which offers students in-depth lessons in the visual arts taught by local artists. Began by former city school teacher Sandra Cox, the program is now celebrating is sixth year of providing students with learning experiences that not only improve their artistic abilities, but create a lasting bond between teachers and classmates.

"The program has done so much to enrich the talents of the students," said Sandra Cox, "but it has also enriches them as individuals. As they learn together, they become like family."

Students experienced a wide range of curricula this year, thanks to the diversity of the artists who served as volunteer instructors, many of who work out of Studio 107 in Uptown Martinsville. Studio 107 artists Terry Mitchell, Betty Blessin, Roland Guidry and Aleen Wilson joined Jane Iten and John Christensen to teach classes in painting, stained glass, woodturning, ceramics and fiber arts. Students also used the Piedmont Arts exhibit, Poe's Playground, as inspiration for a book of linoleum block prints that each created under the instruction of Tina Sell and Heidi Pinkston.

"It has been a real pleasure working with the students," said stained glass instructor Aleen Wilson. "They are very talented and very energetic."

Students are referred to the After School Artists program by their former art teachers. Next year, Cox hopes the program will have an even greater number of talented students ready to learn from Martinsville and Henry County's talented artists.

(Photos by Karyn Lovern)


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