JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Conemaugh Valley Elementary School students will celebrate their mindful expressions of art with the school community on Friday with a show at Bottle Works in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.
“Everybody’s excited, and that just makes my heart happy,” school art teacher Laura Troy said.
Elementary students from kindergarten through sixth grade contributed to the display with pieces representing emotional expression through the Bottle Works M.I.N.D. collaboration, which works with students to provide them with tools for better understanding their emotions and dealing with stresses of daily life.
A new after-school art club for fifth- and sixth-graders was also started this year in conjunction with this program.
“Students learn that many artists express emotion through their work,” said Holly Lees, Bottle Works mindfulness and arts facilitator and youth coordinator. “Students were given the chance to express themselves artistically through drawing, painting, mixed media or sculpture.”
Lees has worked with the learners at Conemaugh Valley on mindfulness lessons for the past six years.
“We are so proud of this group,” she said.
The reception will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and include light refreshments, an opportunity to play with the Imagination Playground and family art activities.
Troy said she was touched by the students’ art and the artists’ statements they wrote to accompany their work.
“Reading the emotions they were able to express through their artwork was deep,” she said.
She added that the collaboration between community organization and the school has been a fantastic experience and she looks forward to seeing it grow.
“It’s been a privilege to work with Holly and Bottle Works,” Troy said.
Bottle Works and the school leaders want to continue this program each year and encourage other districts to get involved by contacting Lees at 814-535-2020.
The exhibit and art club were made possible in part by a Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance grant.
Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5054. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.