School art project turns into community service event

Nettleton STEAM students use art project to double as community service.
Nettleton STEAM students use art project to double as community service.((Source: KAIT-TV))
Published: Nov. 13, 2018 at 9:30 PM CST
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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A local school district used an art project to teach kids about giving back.

A hand-crafted clay bowl meant so much more than a grade in art class.

"It's so good for students to do service projects and be part of that," Nettleton STEAM Facilitator Kelli Cochran said.

Fifth and sixth graders at the Nettleton STEAM school spent several months molding, firing, and painting a custom bowl in Mr. Willoughby's art class.

"We practiced with the clay and learning how to handle it," Art Teacher Cody Willoughby said. "They really picked up on it quick and I think they had a blast, and they learned more than just how to make a clay bowl, they learned how to help the community with art and do something bigger than themselves."

"I made my bowl look like a watermelon," Sixth grader Christina Caradine said. "Because that's my favorite fruit."

But when the bowls came out of the kiln, the students' work was just beginning.

"I'm passing out water bottles," Sixth grader Jailyn Agnew said.

"And I'm helping people go get their food," Caradine said.

Because the real purpose is to serve a meal in those bowls to community members in need.

"When students are able to think outside of themselves and think about the world around them and are able to do things for others, it kind of changes their perspective on themselves and the world," Cochran said.

The idea came from a nationwide foundation called Empty Bowls.

This was Nettleton STEAM's first year participating.

And though it was a lot of hard work, students gave the community service project an A plus.

"I love art," Sixth grader Gabrielle Plata said. "And I love helping people in need."

The kids also did a canned food drive, raising about 900 cans to donate to the NEA Food Bank.

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