by Kate Evans
The art program at Paw Paw Schools has received a $1,488 grant from the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation’s 2020 Fall Education Grant fund to support the purchase of 20 portable aluminum easels and six H-frame wooden easels, as well as 120 stretched canvases and 120 canvas panels for its art classes.
Paw Paw Schools students don’t have easels to paint in the classroom.
After being encouraged by Principal Melinda Kasekamp to allow students to go outside and take mask breaks, art teacher Robert Wallace focused on the Impressionist movement by drawing and painting “en plein air,” capturing the natural light as it falls on the Appalachian landscape throughout the day in the Impressionist style for entire class periods as weather allowed.
Students have been using drawing boards and clipboards or sketch pads on their laps, which has somewhat limited the angles and viewpoints that they were able to capture, said Wallace.
With the purchase of these portable easels, students will be able to set up right next to a tree, or in the open field next to the playground and paint the far mountainscape and horizon without being bound by the limitations of finding dry places to sit down.
The canvases and portable easels will also be used inside the classroom during the winter months. Each easel is adjustable from a 20” tabletop height all the way to 66” standing height making them usable from kindergarten through high school and giving students options on how to approach their work, especially special education students that have difficulty sitting still for long periods of time.
The aluminum design will make the shared easels easily cleanable with spray disinfectant during this coronavirus pandemic.
The larger H-frame easels will be assigned to the high school students in Art II, III, and IV classes, so they can have a safe individual workstation designated for their work that won’t have to be moved.
Wallace and staff expressed appreciation for the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation’s continued support of Paw Paw Schools.
The Community Foundation awards nearly $1 million in grants and scholarships annually. For more information, go to the website www.EWVCF.org, contact Executive Director Michael Whalton at mwhalton@ ewvcf.org or call 304-264-0353.
by Kate Evans