Some northeastern Oklahoma students are tapping into their creative sides to help give their teachers a happier holiday through an art-driven fundraiser called 'The Gallery Experience.'
Pawhuska students have spent the past several weeks creating artwork that will be sold to raise money for teachers in the school district.
Artist Addie Roanhorse and her daughter came up with the idea last year and raised $2,000. They divided up the money and gave every certified teacher a gift card before Christmas, which is what they’ll do again this year.
Roanhorse paid for all the canvasses out of pocket last year, but this year Osage Casinos has chipped in to make the event even bigger.
Right now, artwork by more than 100 students is on display and for sale at Roanhorse's art gallery, Big Rain Gallery.
“They'll come in with their parents and they'll immediately start scanning like, 'Where is it? Where is it?' And then they'll get to it, and they'll all just kind of stand there together and they'll have their moment,” said Roanhorse.
Every student had to submit a small essay on why art is important to them to enter their artwork in the exhibit. After reading those last year, the district learned how important art is to students and brought art back to the classrooms this year.
“Over and over with the paragraphs this year they expressed about how art lets them express themselves and how it lets you be free and how it lets you explore new things,” said Pawhuska STEAM teacher, Jon Wilson. “I think as we look in public education that the kids are telling us they need a way of expressing themselves.”
The student art show begins at for 4:00 p.m. Thursday at the Big Rain Gallery in downtown Pawhuska. It’s followed by a live auction that gets going at 6:30 p.m. which also includes nearly 20 donated pieces by professional artists.
The Gallery Experience is free and includes food catered by the Whizbang restaurant.