By TENA L. COOK, MARKETING COORDINATOR
CHADRON – A special session for art teachers during Chadron State College’s Art Day Tuesday showcased Paint the Town, a project including more than a dozen murals on buildings in downtown Chadron, and most recently, a city water tank about 15 miles south of Chadron along Highway 385.
Chadron Public Schools Art teacher and CSC alum Travis Hencey said the session he and Chadron Area Chamber of Commerce Director Gabby Michna presented about Paint the Town and Art Alley provided some valuable insights about resources.
“I think Art teachers get asked by their schools and communities to do a lot of large projects. So, we tried to share some information on how to go about it in a way that's not as time-intensive or money-intensive. We wanted to make it seem doable, instead of just another thing they are being asked to do,” Hencey said.
Jessica Klassen from Bayard Public Schools teaches K-12 Art and photography and advises the yearbook staff. She’s done a few murals inside the high school with students and plans to start a new one this month.
“As for the presentation on Art Alley, I was very interested to see how to bring a community together to create art as a whole. It seems like Chadron has developed a good system for creating quality while still incorporating all skill levels. It seems like the community is willing to donate work and help provide supplies,” Klassen said.
Klassen said she found the session particularly useful since some Bayard community residents have asked her to paint downtown murals.
“I've been curious how to make that happen. This presentation made it seem like there are answers and there are people who have figured out how to make it work,” she said.
Klassen thinks CSC’s Art Day is a positive opportunity for students and educators.
“I love giving my kids the opportunity to see what it's like to be in college classes. Art Day opens them up to more possibilities than I can offer, which is wonderful. I love getting time to see other art teachers and talk with them about things they're doing in their classes,” Klassen said.
Kathy Brock from Alliance, Nebraska, said she wasn’t aware of Chadron’s Art Alley until she received the invitation to attend Art Day. She and her students painted one mural in Alliance about 10 years ago and the CSC session prompted her to think about the possibilities for more murals in Alliance. Following the event, she took her students to see the murals in downtown Chadron.
Kira Dermatis, Tavian Urban, and Addison Neville from Edgemont, South Dakota, also attended Art Day.
Dermatis found the graphic novel session especially helpful since she is working on something similar for her senior project.
“I've seen a lot of different creativity today and it's just kind of cool,” she said.
Urban said the session about graphic design was fascinating.
“I've never done anything like that and didn't really understand how it worked. But now I have a much better understanding,” Urban said.
Neville said she discovered some unique, in-depth, and interesting aspects of art.
CSC sophomore Maya Goss of Cheyenne, Wyoming, taught a session at Art Day for the second time. Her topic was graphic novels.
“I'm not normally teaching, so it was a little awkward, but pretty fun because we were talking about graphic novels, something I'm passionate about. It seems like the groups got together and talked well with each other while working on storyboards and thumbnail sketches,” Goss said.
Raquel Moore of Beatrice, Nebraska, taught four different watercolor techniques even though she is a Psychology major with a minor in Criminal Justice. She has painted commissioned art pieces and is taking a painting class as an elective and jumped at the opportunity when Mary Donahue asked her to lead a session.
“A lot of the students are really good. They quickly catch on to the gradient shift technique, blending two colors or fading one color from light to dark. One of the things a lot of them struggle with is the single-stroke technique, just letting the paint be where it's at. I struggle with that, too. This technique is used in a lot of impressionist paintings and that's why I think a lot of them are so well known and liked. Even without the perfect brushstroke, you can tell what you're looking at,” Moore said.