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Bristol Herald Courier features downtown Student Art Gallery on front page of the paper!

January 13, 2014

By David McGee, Bristol Herald Courier — About 50 pieces of art created by students at a local elementary school now fill the windows of the former Hayes Furniture building in downtown Bristol. The display kicks off the third annual student art gallery, a program overseen by the downtown’s arts and entertainment district and Believe in Bristol. The latest collection of art was created by students at Anderson Elementary in Bristol, Tenn., and the artists were from kindergarten through sixth grade, according to Rene Rodgers, associate director of BIB.

“It makes a building that’s empty and just sitting here look prettier and we get a lot of response from it. But it’s a really good way to encourage creativity in the arts — especially in this day and age when funding for arts is lower,” Rodgers said of the program.
Works are displayed for a month and changed each month through June, Rodgers said.

This display includes pieces inspired by gothic stained glass, scarecrows, snow globes, still life, color studies and landscapes. It will remain in place until Feb. 3.

“This is a really good one because it’s all ages and there’s a real diversity to the art,” Rodgers said. “We’ve had drawings and paintings. Last year, one school did foam sculptures and that was really cool.”

Both Bristol school systems, local private schools and the home-schooling network are invited to participate, with entries accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, Rodgers said.

“We get a lot of great feedback from teachers about how excited the kids get because they’re going to be displayed downtown where everyone can see it, for a whole month. They come down here with their parents and — some parents and kids don’t know the downtown at all — so it’s a no-brainer for us because it has a lot of impact,” Rodgers said.

The arts and entertainment district was created by Bristol, Va., leaders to promote and enhance the collection of galleries and arts-related businesses in the downtown area.

“It’s a good way to use an empty building and to encourage kids to make art, to enjoy making art and to see it as something other people will be interested in,” Rodgers said.

Article by David McGee: dmcgee@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2532 | Twitter: @DMcGeeBHC