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  • Words by Stacey Bowers / Photography by Mark

Making School a Magical Place to Be


Take a stroll through White Hall High School, and you’ll see it couldn’t be more aptly named. The walls are stark and bare, unless it’s almost the Chinese New Year and you’re in Mr. Bowman’s wing. Near his art room, the walls come alive with colorful paper dragons, all part of a project funded by Thea’s Art Closet.

“I believe it is important to celebrate with other cultures, and it gives my students an opportunity to try a different form of art, “ Bowman said about the appeal he posted to DonorsChoose.org seeking $373 to cover basics like markers, Sharpies, paper cutters, glue guns and construction paper. “My students are usually relegated to drawing and painting because of budget constraints. While these are great mediums, they sometimes become stale.”

Bowman’s art supplies budget for the entire year is $300, he said, and that includes ink for his classroom printer. This year he said he opted for art supplies, and asked fellow teachers to save paper towel rolls, Pringles cans, egg cartons and other materials that could possibly be used in an art project. Bowman, like many teachers, said he can’t depend on his students to provide specialty supplies for class, because many of them can’t afford it either.

Bowman’s students learned about Chinese traditions while they made paper dragons, and he enjoyed watching them take pride in their creations. Along with an appreciation for another culture, he hopes they came away from this project with “a love for a different form of art and a new creative outlet.” Aside from his art class, the only other arts elective offered at White Hall High School is choir, he said.

“I have students tell me every day, ‘I wish I could just stay in here and work all day,’” Bowman said. “That statement gives me inspiration to do the very best I can to help my students’ passion for fine arts grow.”

Bowman says he’ll depend on DonorsChoose.org and Thea’s Art Closet for future projects. During the 2015-16 school year, Thea’s Art Closet helped fund 133 classrooms in Arkansas, 97.6% of which were considered high-poverty. These creative projects and supplies influenced approximately 27,600 children.

Please, help keep critical programs like Thea’s Art Closet running by donating to Thea Foundation Thursday, April 6, on Arkansas Gives, a statewide, sponsored and matched day of giving where $400,000 worth of matching dollars are on the line for Arkansas nonprofits.

Your gift to Thea Foundation keeps the arts alive in Arkansas. Please, help us reach our goal of $30,000 on Arkansas Gives (April 6), and your donation will be matched by the Arkansas Community Foundation, meaning even more creative materials and arts programming in Arkansas schools! Please, mark your calendar, bookmark Thea Foundation on the Arkansas Gives Website, and donate to Thea through the Arkansas Gives website on April 6!

Donate Here on April 6!

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