McCracken Students Learn Pride thru Art Exhibition
By WestKyStar & WKCTC Staff
PADUCAH - Heath Middle School eighth grader Winter Johnson has enjoyed drawing for as long as she can remember but having drawings exhibited at West Kentucky Community and Technical College's Paducah School of Art and Design was something she loved.

"This gives more people a chance to see (my work)," Johnson said, "and for me to see other people's works too."

Johnson, 14, the daughter of Jimmy and Marla Johnson of Paducah, had four pieces in an exhibition of artworks by students of McCracken County 21st Century Community Centers. More than 150 McCracken County students contributed nearly 200 works to the exhibition in PSAD's Alcove Galleries. Participating students were from Heath Middle, Hendron-Lone Oak Elementary, Lone Oak Middle, Reidland Elementary, Reidland Intermediate, Reidland Middle, and McCracken County High schools.

Alan Strong, site coordinator of the 21st Century Grant program at Lone Middle School, said students from his school had about 30 different art pieces in the exhibition. "I think it's really cool. It shows the solidarity of all the schools together, and just being able to demonstrate what McCracken County can do together," Strong said.

The exhibition opened with a reception event March 12 and will remain on display through April 18. Admission is free.

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grant is a competitive grant that provides federal funding to establish community learning centers that provide academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities for students and their families. These opportunities must occur during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session to help students to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects. Centers must also offer students a broad array of activities that can complement their regular academic programs, to offer literacy and other educational services to their families.

Cheryl Moore, district coordinator of the 21st Century Grant program, said activities like art are fun but also provide what she called, "hands-on, invisible learning."

"We really try to be sure that we can give students different opportunities that they may or may not get in the school day. We link everything we do to the school day but we're the fun arm," Moore said. "We support them academically with homework, help and tutoring, but we're also the fun part. I call it invisible learning, where they have fun and don't know that they're still learning."

Moore said the biggest joy of being a part of an exhibition like PSAD's 21st Century Exhibition was in seeing the pride in the student participants' faces.

"I've been running behind some of (the students). Just to see the look on their faces, when they go and they find their artwork on the wall; that it's displayed with their name on it and their grade. And they are bringing their parent, their grandparents, their loved ones to see it," Moore said. "That look on their faces is what it's all about; That look that's saying 'look what I did'.

PSAD's 2D and Graphic Design building is located at 905 Harrison Street in LowerTown Paducah. Gallery hours are 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday, and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturdays.

Published 08:08 AM, Saturday Mar. 16, 2019
Updated 08:19 AM, Saturday Mar. 16, 2019

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