April 15, 2015 – Fourth-grade students in Sandy Waite’s class at Southside Elementary
School are saluting the history of Sarasota and their school with a project
they have been working on since early in the school year. The culmination of
the project will be a one-hour event at 1:15 p.m., Tuesday, April 21.
Celebrates Sarasota’s History,” an art project created in conjunction with YEA
Arts (Youth Experiencing Art), paired students from Ringling College of Art and
Design with Southside students to showcase the history of Sarasota in various
ways. The results include a book created by the students and murals along the
hallways outside the school’s cafeteria.
the celebration, students will receive copies of the book and the murals will
be dedicated. Family members and school staff will join the students for the event.
commemorate the 90th birthday of Southside Elementary, which opened to students
in 1926, students researched milestones and key people in Sarasota's history
during the decades the school has been in existence. Ringling College student
artists guided the elementary students during the drawing phase of the project.
The children’s illustrations were then enlarged and transferred to tiles to create
six 40-by-40-inch tiles that were incorporated into murals representing
different time periods. The students’ drawings and writings about Sarasota
history are being printed in a book; each child will receive a copy.
creative project is a great early birthday present for Southside,” said
Principal Steve Dragon, who notes that the school will celebrate its 90th
birthday on Jan. 11, 2016.
Teacher Sandy Waite described the
process of developing the project that combines art and history: “As I
discussed this year's YEA arts integration project with Mr. Dragon, I initially
wanted my students to create a mural of Sarasota's history. Then the idea evolved
into connecting a celebration of Southside’s 90th anniversary to the city’s
history. I’m a big advocate of integrating the arts in various ways to augment
what students are learning in the classroom.”
Waite said that, as students tackled
various components of the project, they gained many valuable skills. She
reports that they were totally engaged in their work, from researching, writing
and typing their page for the book, to watching and learning about drawing
techniques from the Ringling artists, to creating the actual tiles for the
“It’s wonderful to know that students
can read the book and share their paintings with friends and families for years
to come,” Waite added.
Michael Trujillo, a senior at Ringling
College of Art and Design, agrees that art can enhance the educational process.
“The students wouldn't have learned all
this rich Sarasota history without doing this project,” said Trujillo. “The
result is a creative timeline expressed in visual art that will be shared with
visitors to Southside each and every day."
Southside Elementary School is located at 1901
Webber St., Sarasota.
About YEA Arts
Youth Experiencing Art, Inc. provides
young students with art experiences for gaining focused life learnings,
enhanced self-confidence and the opportunity to develop a life vision beyond
Through collaborations with community
arts organizations, children’s centers and Sarasota County schools, thousands
of children have been given the opportunity to experience art in its many
Established in 2002 by the John and Robin
Sullivan Foundation, the YEA Arts program had its genesis in foster care
facilities and alternative schools. The YEA Arts program uses artistic projects
for children to enhance core-curriculum learning through arts integration.
In 2010 the John F. Kennedy Center for the
Performing Arts accepted Youth Experiencing Art, Inc. as a member of their
Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program, Florida ’97 Team. This has
allowed YEA Arts to reach even more children through professional
development workshops for teachers that utilize nationally renowned Kennedy
Center Teaching Artists.
A series of local collaborations with
Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, Embracing Our
Differences, Children First and Sarasota County Schools create an avenue
of interaction with local kids, allowing Ringling student artists to share
their knowledge, experience and passion through classroom