By: Hannah Adkisson, Contributing Writer
During the 2017-2018 fall semester, the Centralia branch of Central Bank of Boone County worked with the CHS art department to sponsor a barn quilt project. For this project, students interviewed Central Bank customers who had rural buildings. Following their interviews, students worked with the families during the creation of the barn quilts to create a unique art piece. This activity allowed students to gain valuable skills and combined classroom curriculum with community involvement and skill development.
Lorry Myers, Central Bank of Boone County Community Bank Manager, was inspired by the work other Central Bank branches were already doing to support the arts and became interested in supporting local art endeavors. “Our Columbia branch hosts several art shows a year, so I thought something like that would be a great fit for Centralia as well,” said Myers. “Often the bank is asked to support sports teams through schedules or posters while our fine arts program gets less attention.”
Myers, a writer herself, wanted to expose the city of Centralia to new and different outlets of art while giving credit to artists in the community. Myers believes in celebrating the arts in a community. “The arts are something that lives and breathes and has the ability to take on a life of its own. As an adult, those that played football probably won’t still be playing football. But the arts: the act of creating music or a painting or a written piece. . .those skills, that passion, never goes away, no matter how old you grow. So we need to recognize and celebrate those that have artistic talent.”
This project allowed students to gain knowledge in numerous aspects of education and life. “We explored the history of quilting in America, used principles of geometry to design quilt blocks, developed soft skills while interviewing families and practiced writing and reflecting in artist statements,” said Rachel Renaud, CHS art teacher. These skills combined with the community involvement aspect made for a valuable learning experience.
CHS principal Matt Smith commended Renaud for her development of this project and its application to students’ lives. “Every successful person, whether in professional or personal life, must be able to think about challenges and opportunities through a variety of life lenses,” said Smith. “In any classroom, one of the biggest challenges is combining a specific subject with all of the complex, fluid variables that real-world situations present us every day. Mrs. Renaud’s development of this project is a great example of her prompting students to apply art content in combination with many other life issues and processes. This project intertwined communication and writing skills, local history and culture, as well as art,” he said.