A Year In Art

St. George's Art Department uses entire year to spread Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's message.

Artwork done by St. George's student Skyelar Campbell.

Photo: Claire Rooney

Artwork done by St. George's student Skyelar Campbell.

St. George’s has a tradition of sponsoring and organizing volunteer opportunities for Martin Luther King Jr. Day every year, trying to get the kids to turn it into a day on instead of a day off.

Most years the art department organizes their own activities based around beautifying Memphis. However this year they were unable to organize one. Their department which is made up of Mr. Danny Broadway, Mrs. Allison Webb, and Mrs. Gwen English, saw some changes this year with the loss of Ms. Rose, the former head and then the subsequent addition of Mrs. English.

It’s a transitional year we’re all kind of trying to learn a new way of working together,” Broadway said.

Also thrown into the mix this year was the idea of GryphGiving. Seven whole days of school dedicated to better serving the community where students and teachers spend the entire school day with one class.  

“It’s a big thing to plan out seven days where you’re either doing something amazing with kids in the in the field or in the classroom,” English said.

While the art department was unable to schedule an activity specifically on MLK day, they feel as though the entire year is open to act of Dr. King’s message of kindness and constant good works. Everyone should always be looking for ways to better the community, stand up for what is right, and for what is just.

“There is one day but I feel like it’s almost like futile,” Webb said, “If you’re like, you go out on this one day and do something that’s awesome, but then you leave the rest of the year to itself.”

In fact, they are planning participating in Paint Memphis this coming October. This year’s Paint Memphis will have students from St. George’s collaborate with people from all over the city to help expand the largest mural in Tennessee, which is in Altown skatepark in downtown Memphis. The most enjoyable part of participating in great works of art and volunteerism, for the teachers, is being able to interact with the students outside if school.

“I think being able to work with the students like outside of me, being a teacher is fun… [it] puts us on a more level playing field,” Webb said, “as far as creating, and creating together. Not ‘I’m creating and you’re creating separately,’ but we’re creating something that’s collaborative, which is nice.”

In addition to having their students create works professing their culture, dreams, and gifts, the art department plans out special projects for their students to push them in the direction of pondering the civil rights movement. Mr. Broadway, for example, has his students create collages reflecting the struggles and achievements of those who fought for civil equality, while still letting them have creative freedoms.

“It’s just positive, the message is always positive,” Broadway said, “So as long as you do something that…has a positive historic quality and it has some sort of civil rights feel and you think about Dr. King…what it felt like to want to march to make a better way for a group of people.”