Art in the classroom

TUPELO – Kindergarten students at Carver Elementary school will jump into the arts this school year.
The school’s kindergarten teachers have put together a series of art workshops for the students after receiving a $5,000 grant from the Association for Excellence in Education.
Carver Elementary kindergarten teacher Barbara Beane said art makes every student feel successful.
“Our foremost goal is to meet the needs of all children,” Beane said. “When you infuse the art, you reach all levels of learning.”
Up first was cartoonist Tim Oliphant of Lewisburg, Tenn., who spent Monday through Wednesday at Carver. “Mr. Ollie,” as Oliphant is known, worked with students of all grades at the K-2 school, showing them how to use shapes to draw pictures.
“The goal is the art exposure,” Oliphant said. “They realize they can do whatever they set out to do. This can carry over to other areas. So much of it is about trying and doing the best you can.”
Beane met Oliphant during the late ’90s as Oliphant visited the students at Pierce Street Elementary School, where Beane was teaching. She was impressed with the way he made all students feel successful.
“Children have this fear of failure that I can’t do this or I can’t draw, but once they work with Mr. Ollie, they stop saying, ‘I can’t,’” Beane said.
The immersion in the arts will continue Oct. 8-9 when chef David Leathers will carve images out of watermelons as an example of edible art. Other workshops will feature sculpting with Jennifer Webb of Midnite Pottery, drama with Pied Piper Playhouse, music and motion with the Tupelo High School Wave Connection and ballet with THS student Mary Jourdan.
“We wanted our kids to understand that art is more than a box of crayons,” said Carver kindergarten teacher Emily Roberts.
Beane and Roberts have combined with fellow kindergarten teachers Wanda Mitchell and Christy Todd to arrange the workshops, using the money from AEE. They will continue to seek sponsors and additional grant money in order to continue the arts series next year.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or at

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio