A well-rounded arts education can help children practice creative thinking, learn problem solving and apply focus and concentration as they master a new skill.
That’s the premise behind a unique art experience that is free for Pinellas County school children. Funded by the Janet Huntley Grant through the Pinellas Community Foundation, the Dunedin Fine Art Center’s “Wheels on Wheels” program brings a mobile art pottery experience directly to local elementary schools.
You Made It Happen
Last year, Todd Still, Youth Education Director for the Dunedin Fine Art Center acquired a 35-foot school bus, took out the seats and retrofitted it with 11 pottery wheels.
While one group of students practice at the pottery wheels inside the bus, another group shapes clay “monsters” and terra cotta pots outside. Then they switch so everyone has a chance to join in the fun.
“There is very immediate satisfaction for the students,” said Still. “It can be very mesmerizing for them. No matter what the results look like, they always walk away feeling the experience has been magical.”
Your Gift Enriches Young Lives
With limited funding available these days for arts education, your support helps the Dunedin Fine Arts Center bridge that gap by giving schools – and students – this novel creative arts exposure at no cost.
“Working with clay is invaluable for the students on many levels,” said Still. “They are building motor skills, mastering patience and especially with the potter’s wheel, learning that each step they take builds on the previous one. It’s a true learning and growing experience. The students are engaged and active the whole time.”
The pottery classes also incorporate math concepts, especially geometry.
“We talk about shapes and the transformation that happens when a flat rectangle becomes a 3-D prism shape or a circle is shaped into a sphere,” said Still.
“The opportunity that the grant offers children and teachers is unprecedented,” said Still. “This is the only program of its kind, and I am so pleased at the chance to reach kids directly through art. The teachers love it and so do the kids. It has been amazing to see this program come to life.”