Art for a cause

Feelhaver Elementary students are creating art for Bark for Art, a fundraiser held by Almost Home Humane Society of North Central Iowa.

“We were contacted by Almost Home before the school year started and they wanted to see if we had some kids who would be interested in creating some artwork for the event,” Meg Beshey, Feelhaver art teacher, said. “The more we talked, we thought why don’t we get some afterschool-type activities set up for the kids to create artwork.”

The students have been working on their projects for more than a week in afterschool sessions.

“The kids come in after school and work for about 20, 25 minutes, and try to get done what they can. We’ll be doing it for another week,” Beshey said Monday. “We’ll be pricing it for the event.”

The artwork will be sold at Bark For Art on Oct. 12. While the majority of proceeds will go to Almost Home, the students will also be paid for their art.

“For many, this will be a first-time experience,” Beshey said. “The kids will actually be out there showcasing their artwork. People can come and purchase the art the kids created after school.”

The elementary students are contributing original drawings, painting ceramics, and making models and collages.

“The nice thing about this is, there isn’t a particular theme,” Beshey said. “The kids will be creating anything that comes to their minds, whatever they think is colorful.”

The event shows students what opportunities exist in art, Beshey said.

“We talk about it during art class, how artists sell things for millions of dollars. It really kind of puts a one-on-one perspective on what art could be, if it goes that far,” she said. “For many it goes beyond just making a pretty picture, not it has a little importance. Not only are they selling something for the first time, they’re doing something to raise money for a good cause. They’re seeing their art being used for a good reason.”

Beshey said it was encouraging to see her students work so purposefully.

“The kids know they’re doing this for a reason. They’re not in here to make whatever,” she said. “They’re in here because they want to be in here, and they want to showcase their talent. It’s neat to have kids who want to find a reason to show their art.”

The effort underlines why art education is important, Beshey said.

“Art utilizes all of your thinking skills,” she said. “And you’re art isn’t just one thing, it isn’t going to just hang on the refrigerator, it’s going to have a purpose and a reason. That takes art to a different level with the artists.”

Bark For Art begins at 8 a.m. on Oct. 12 at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park. For more information, contact Almost Home Humane Society of North Central Iowa at 955-8343.