Every year, Morgan County Crossroads students, working with the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art (STMA), construct a work of public art to gift to a local non-profit and this year, Farmview Market in Madison was chosen. A reception was held to celebrate the art installation and the students who created it.
“Farmview was chosen for two reasons: one, their philosophy of the importance of giving back to the community aligns with that of the Crossroads program and master artist Steffen Thomas whose long career included donations of public art, and two, the high volume foot traffic at Farmview guarantees a large audience for celebrating the accomplishments of the students at Crossroads,” explained Patricia DuBose, director of the STMA. “Crossroads students and their art teachers, Elizabeth Collins and Chuck Hanes, worked together to create a design to reflect the purpose and mission of the community partner, Farmview Market,” said Patricia Dubose with the STMA. “The weaving depicts a pastoral scene reminiscent of the trusted farming communities that are a part of the Farmview experience. Recycled materials – t-shirts and plastic fencing – were used to create the hills, river, sky, fencing and trees in the scene. The use of recycled materials is a key component of the Crossroads project each year: Just as Steffen Thomas himself used chicken wire, doors, metal scraps, even a water heater once to create his art, this program teaches that making art doesn’t require fancy materials – anything can be use.”
“So much of our education now requires sitting at a computer. I think it is invaluable for these students to have project-based learning through arts…to get their hands dirty and use their critical thinking skills to create a ‘thing’, something tangible,” said Elizabeth Collins, Lead Art Instructor, Morgan County Crossroads School and STMA Arts Outreach Assistant.
Farmview leaders were thrilled to receive the work of art to display for all of the patrons.
“We are honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the project. We hope that all we do at Farmview helps to strengthen the community. This program is a wonderful way we can further this effort, through helping our younger community members succeed. We appreciate Morgan County Crossroads and the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art for their leadership,” said Keith Kelly, owner, Farmview Market.
“This project was well thought out start to finish, and was a great experience for us. Program leaders came by to look at our space and determine the aesthetic before choosing the medium and designing the piece. The finished piece really fits our space and is truly beautiful. We are so pleased to display it for all our guests to enjoy,” said Laura Rotroff, marketing and communications manager, Farmview Market.
About 30 students participated in the design and creation of the artwork over the course of the semester with four student recognized for outstanding leadership on the project. Local and area sponsors included Jim Boyd & Associates, Longview Wealth Management, Conrads Family Fund, C.R.Bard Foundation, Georgia Power Foundation, Madison Studios, Morgan County Citizen, Bank of Madison, House Smart, Smith Communications, and The Creative Brain. At the state level, we receive support from Georgia Council for the Arts, Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, and the National Endowment for the Arts for arts outreach programming.
According to DuBose, “Since 2002, the Steffen Thomas Museum has provided weekly arts instruction throughout the year at Crossroads at no cost to the Morgan County School System. The program is titled Creative Teens Earning Green (CTEG) because it teaches that making art can make money: Students are given cash awards for outstanding work or work ethic, and they are given the opportunity to sell in some local retail stores. The program is curriculum-driven and students are awarded transcript grades for their individual work as well as their collaborative work on the public art donated to a local non-profit. One of the many positive impacts of CTEG is that it provides students an opportunity – via art – for reflection, creativity and self-transformation. The CTEG teachers form close relationships with students and follow-up with them and the school counselors after they leave the program.”