Art exhibit features Lee County students

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – This was not Tamyah Townsend’s first art exhibit.
The fifth-grader at Shannon Elementary was among more than 700 students in the Lee County School District whose artwork is on display at The GumTree Museum of Art from now until April 14. A reception sponsored by the Daily Journal was held for those students on Thursday.
Tamyah, 10, said her work has been featured in the district’s art show every year since she was in the first grade. Her favorite part is getting to take photos of something she’s created hanging inside the museum.
“I like art because when I draw, it makes me imagine,” she said.
Saltillo Elementary third-grader Clare Roberson, 9, looked at her painting that featured flowers that were also made to resemble the sun. Her assignment was to draw something in nature.
“I learned you can start out with something and end with something totally different,” she said.
There were many varieties to the students’ art, from paintings and drawings to masks, sculptures of bugs, outdoor mosaics and Japanese rice bowls. The “Impressions” exhibit featured the best work of students from first to sixth grade.
“It is really important for the students to see that our families and community values art in student education,” said Gena Yarbrough, lead art instructor for Lee County Schools.
Kit Stafford, director of the GumTree museum and a former art teacher in Tupelo, said she has long enjoyed the school art exhibits at the museum. The Tupelo Public School District will have a reception for its exhibit at the museum on April 19.
“It is a wonderful showcase to display what our public schools are doing with arts instruction,” she said.
Among the patrons on Thursday was Heather Wages, whose 7-year-old son Peyton had art on display.
“This is our first time to do this,” she said, “I was amazed and proud of him. He has always loved to draw and has been very artistic.”
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or

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