Celebrate youth art month

March is Youth Art Month and every year the auditorium at Fisher Community Center fills up with amazing artwork created by the students in Marshalltown Community School District. This year will be no exception.

Marshalltown has a long, proud history of fostering a love of the arts for students. Just walk down the halls of many of our schools and find original artwork by Iowa artists and Marshalltown students welcoming visitors. Last spring, for example, Miller Middle School’s Art Club created painted panels for the school library. The year before that Miller students painted panels for the school’s band room as well.

Our outstanding art educators, who have a great history of connecting students with unique experiences and who have been recognized at the state level for their dedication, support Marshalltown’s student artists in many ways.

At Lenihan student artwork is displayed prominently. In 2012 students in that school’s Extended Learning Program, inspired by community art projects, spearheaded their own school murals. Working with art educator Pam Muench and with the help of an Iowa State University Extension Reach Out Iowa grant, the students created a mural project that incorporated the theme “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and enlisted more than 400 of their peers in the process.

Mrs. Muench was named the 2013 Outstanding Elementary Art Educator by the Art Educators of Iowa. In fact, over the years many Marshalltown art educators have received similar honors from the AEI.

Marshalltown art educators are active with AEI and it’s because of this the 2014 AEI conference will come to the Marshalltown area under the leadership and organization of several art teachers, including Maggie Parks, Wade Judge, Stephane Lane, Lindsay Delagardelle, Laurie Mullen, Kirk Niehouse and Muench.

It’s through the dedication of these teachers that the raw talent of our students is channeled into the amazing artwork on display each year in March. The opening reception for the 2014 Youth Art Month exhibit is Saturday, March 8, from 1 to 3 pm at the Fisher Community Center. Artwork will be on display throughout the month during regular FCC hours. After that, artwork will be on display at Marshalltown Community School District Central Office. Stop by the office at 317 Columbus Drive to see artwork from the 2013 Youth Art Month show before they’re returned to students and the next crop of incredible creations grace our walls.

The examples above are a select few of the many, many ways Marshalltown students showcase their artistic talents. I encourage you to visit the Fisher Community Center next month to see what students have been creating and keep your eyes open when visiting any of our schools. Student art and student talent is everywhere.

Jason Staker is communications director for Marshalltown Community School District.