One of our ultimate goals as the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council is to promote and provide quality arts education to our local schools. Whether it be theater, band, dance, choir, orchestra, or visual arts, we believe that all children should have the opportunity to partake in the amazing world of creativity. However, our research has shown that there are still several rural parishes in northeast Louisiana that are not able to provide any opportunities for their students to study the arts.
We were fortunate enough to get know high-school student, Camryn Price, and talk about her personal experiences with the arts education programs in Franklin Parish. Camryn is a qualified Talented Art student and currently takes art classes at her high-school. She first explained how she began doodling at a young age and had always enjoyed drawing.
“I’ve always liked art throughout my whole life. When I was a kid I’d draw princesses. And whenever I got older, I didn’t really see it being realistic as a career until I got into Talented Art,” said Camryn.
However, she was never given the opportunity to explore her talent in elementary or middle-school. When she finally got to high-school, she was recommended for and tested into the Talented Art program and was able to enroll in her very first visual arts class at the age of 16. With her face glowing, Camryn expressed how that single art class had completely opened her eyes to a world of possibilities.
“So many possibilities and opportunities with art opened up to me. I didn’t really think I was ever good enough,” said Camryn.
Before the class, Camryn had only known how to draw with a plain No. 2 pencil. She gave huge regards to her art instructor, Mary Marr Nelson, who taught her how to paint with lively watercolors and acrylics. Camryn shared that her absolute favorite part of the day was to enter her art classroom, escape the world, and do what she was there to do and loved to do: paint. In the same way a grey pencil transformed into the endless pigments of paints, Camryn’s mindset and future did as well through the arts. A year ago, Camryn had no idea that someone, particularly herself, had the talent to pursue art as a career. Now she’s designing school logos, starting a t-shirt line, and has the dream of becoming a graphic designer!
“The best thing about art in general is that you have a chance to express yourself, and no one can really say anything different,” said Camryn.
Just this little glimpse into one student’s life shows how much a single arts class can transform someone’s world. However, there are still 9,922 rural public school students in northeast Louisiana who go through an entire school year with no access to any arts class. We are creating many initiatives to bring the gift of arts into schools; one way to help is to visit our 2018-2019 Arts Teachers’ Wish Lists. By purchasing an item, 100% of the dollar amount will go directly towards building their classroom. When you give, 100% of your donation will go directly towards the completion of the teachers’ classrooms.