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Kershaw County schools celebrate, practice art

Posted: March 28, 2014 2:10 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2014 5:00 a.m.

By HALEY ATKINSON

C-I (Camden, S.C.) Localife editor

hatkinson@chronicle-independent.com

 

The arts movement is alive in Kershaw County’s schools. A showcase, "Celebrating the Arts of Kershaw County Schools," was held last week at Lugoff-Elgin High School (L-EHS) that invited the community to view student submissions of visual and performing arts.

Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Executive Director for Instructional Support Programs Alisa Goodman said the showcase was "a wonderful display of our students’ outstanding artistic talents." The program also featured choral and instrumental selections and visual art pieces from students at all 20 KCSD schools.

In addition to several musical numbers from the district’s combined elementary, middle and high school choirs, the Camden Middle School Jazz Band and individual students from North Central Middle School performed instrumental selections. Ensembles from Camden High School and L-EHS entertained during the visual art gallery and ATEC students designed the programs for the event.

Also, at the Continuous Learning Center (CLC), artist Mickey McMasters spent a week in residence working with students there. This was McMasters third week this year at CLC. McMaster’s residence at CLC was facilitated by the Fine Arts Center (FAC) of Kershaw County’s School Arts program. School Arts is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

CLC Coordinator of Psychological Service Dr. Patrick Owen said he was especially pleased with McMaster’s residence at the school. "It’s an all around good program for the kids. It helps them work together socially on a project," he said.

Owen said Goodman was a crucial part of getting the art program at CLC up and running for the 2013-14 year. "Dr. Goodman was critical in setting this up," he said. Owen also praised CLC Principal/Director John Thompson for his work with Goodman in facilitating the arts at the school. "Everyone has really come together in this," Owen said.

McMasters worked with CLC students on a mural project that will be displayed in the school’s hallways. Each age group worked on the various panels of the mural daily. McMasters explained that he’d done similar work at Camp Long in Aiken where he got students to paint images of themselves, self portraits, the way that they saw themselves.

McMasters has spent 21 years in various schools in North and South Carolina working with students through art. He said that after his first experience teaching students art, he got letters from some of the kids. "It made me cry," he said. "I knew doing this was special."

Thompson said the art program at CLC is very beneficial. "The kids enjoy art. It adds stability. They like doing hands on activities and it helps express creativity, thoughts and ideas. It acts as an outlet for them and gives them a way to show their feelings without acting out," he said.

The students agreed that participating in art projects is something they enjoy. "I like it," Austin Pigg said. "I used to help my uncle paint houses. I’m not a good artist when it comes to drawing, but I like painting."

Destiney Gardener said she also likes art. "I feel like it’s a good relief from the day. You can come in here and be yourself." Gardener said she feels proud to see her work on display in the hallways. "I draw at home, but this gives me another opportunity," she said.

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