Pawhuska students receive canvases for art fundraiser

Robert Smith
Pawhuska teacher Jon Marie Wilson, holding canvas, and Addie Roanhorse distribute canvases to elementary school students last Thursday for The Gallery Experience fundraiser. Robert Smith/Journal-Capital

An art-driven fundraiser that Pawhuska grade-school students held a year ago, with adult assistance, to benefit teachers in the local public schools is about to be held for the second year, and interest is growing.

Art gallery owner Addie Roanhorse, who has become a member of the Pawhuska Board of Education in the past year, helped her daughter, Anya Brezinski, and other students start the fundraiser known as “The Gallery Experience.” Roanhorse said roughly 60 students participated in 2018. This time, at least 102 canvases were being distributed to children and youth in elementary school, middle school and high school with instructions to let their imaginations roam freely.

The instructions for this year’s fundraiser said students could use “crayons, markers, paint, yarn, twigs, leaves or anything you desire” — as long as the result is appropriate for a school environment. Pawhuska teacher Jon Marie Wilson reinforced that message last Thursday, as she helped pass out canvases to students in grades 3-5.

“Anything you can think of is pretty much going to be accepted,” Wilson said; but giving one’s imagination a vigorous workout is far from the only thing this fundraiser is meant to encourage. The purposes include giving youth an opportunity to use their talent to raise money for a cause, and to learn something about how to organize to accomplish a social goal.

Students who wanted to participate this year submitted a single paragraph apiece to Wilson, explaining why art is important to them. She said some of the paragraphs were very interesting pieces of writing.

Roanhorse explained a year ago that “The Gallery Experience” grew out of a conversation she had with her daughter. Students produced artwork that was shown in Roanhorse’s gallery on Kihekah Avenue.

This year’s version of The Gallery Experience will involve students returning their artwork by Dec. 2. After that, an artists’ reception is scheduled for Dec. 5, a live auction for Dec. 6 and a gallery showing for Saturday, Dec. 7. Some artwork by adult artists was sold a year ago to help raise the overall profitability of the event.

Both Wilson and Roanhorse cautioned students to safeguard their canvases against damage.

“What you want to watch is to not poke a hole into the canvas,” Roanhorse said Thursday, while talking with elementary school children. Wilson encouraged them to find a safe place at home to store their canvases.

“Last year some of the canvases got destroyed,” Wilson told them. The proceeds of The Gallery Experience are distributed to Pawhuska teachers.

There will also be competition this year, with student art being judged, Wilson said. The categories for evaluation will include a “People’s Choice” category, she said.