It started in October of 2007. Patient Gayle Keeny was in the hospital with pneumonia and trying to walk to recover. While walking in a hallway she noticed a large blank wall. Keeny, being a member of the Sanders County Arts Council (SCAC), thought to herself, why isn’t there art on the wall. Within two weeks, she and another Council member worked with the hospital to start the first art show on the wall.
Today, the SCAC works in conjunction with Sanders County’s Public Schools to exhibit student artwork in the main entrance hall. The titles of the show is, “Art on the Walls: Student Show.”
Joy Nelson of the SCAC explained that in the fall, the council sends out fliers to the schools explaining the show and in the month of January, the council collects artwork that has been donated by the schools and then it is exhibited.
Different grades from the schools donated different kinds of artwork. First grade students’ self portraits lined the bottom of the exhibit that filled the walls. There were landscapes of the local mountains, paintings of fish, birds, owls, wolves, and fictional characters.
“This has been bigger than our other shows in the past, we have more grades in Plains in it. And we also have some of the other schools in the county...” Nelson explained as she described the amount of art that was donated to be hung on the wall.
To pay for the show, the public can buy a piece of artwork and a small portion of the proceeds goes to the hospital, then to the art council and then the majority goes to the artist. Nelson said that this revenue has actually made the SCAC, “self sustaining,” and that it covers any costs the council incurs.
As Royal Hart walked through the hallway at the hospital with someone, he pointed out his daughter Royalene Hart’s first grade self portrait. “I think it’s awesome because it let’s kids be admired... It gives something for the people that are here for a long time to actually look at,” he said as he continued to walk down the hall.
One student whose work stood out was Lea Thompson, a Junior from Plains High School. Her work, titled, “Rainy Night,” shows a rainy city street scene, created by colors of varying hues that blend together and wave to create an impressionistic look. Not like a photograph, but more a like a quick glimpse of a passing scene, where colors and forms fuse together, suggestive of how scenes pass by us so quickly.
Kristen Cole, the Plains High School Art teacher, explained that Thompson is a serious art student who works very hard and is very talented. She said, “She (Thompson) is actually with me three hours of the day. She takes advanced art, and I also have her for working with me, that way she is my student aid.”
In addition to being proud of Thompson, Cole was very pleased with her students as a whole, and how the show turned out. She then expressed an extra sense of gratitude to the the elementary school teachers who also helped and had their classes donate work.