Point Faculty Member Teaches Local Art Classes
Publication Date: 12 July 2012
When people have willing hearts, God can use the smallest of materials – even paintbrushes and pencils – to take the cross everywhere. Dr. Lacey Southerland is one of these people.
Southerland is a professor of education at Point University and moved to Valley, Ala., in June 2011. The Southerland family enjoyed their new community; however, they found something lacking. At W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley, where Sarah Ann Southerland attended the sixth grade, there were no art programs. In fact, no schools in the area offered art classes.
“Art is the forgotten subject in schools,” said Southerland. “So many students are inspired and motivated by the arts. When we deny them art, they have no opportunity for success in school.”
Believing that children can be much more successful when presented with the opportunity to participate in art classes, Southerland
decided to be proactive about fixing the problem. She reached out to Priscella Holley, principal at W.F. Burns Middle School. Southerland asked if she could offer bi-weekly art classes to students.
Holley agreed to Southerland’s proposal as long as she met three conditions. The first condition was that the classes be free. The last two stipulations were that the classes be on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons and that they finish by 4 p.m.
With the help of students from her early childhood education class at Point University, Southerland launched the free art program for the middle-school students at W.F. Burns Middle School.
“I expected to have about 30 or 40 participants,” said Southerland. “However, the permission slips flooded in, and I ended up with 75!”
The art program was a catalyst for the students to become involved in a local art show where Southerland said every student from her class who competed received a ribbon.
“This kind of recognition for them is a boost to their confidence, and an encouragement to their creativity and competitive spirit,” said Southerland.
Parents of the middle school children who participated in the art classes were grateful to Southerland for teaching and often showed their appreciation by donating supplies for the projects.
“I have gained an extreme amount of joy in the response of the children and parents who participated,” said Southerland. “Even the smallest of acts can have far-reaching effects in a community that is welcoming and ready for the new energy and talents that we have to offer.”
Southerland said she looks forward to Point faculty, staff and students moving to the Greater Valley Area in hopes they will help her bring more art programs to the local schools and community. To learn how you can get involved with the art program in the Great Valley Area, email Lacey Southerland
- Seth Dent '15