When a group of local art teachers learned of the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts’ financial struggles, they decided to do something to help.

But they wanted to do more than just ask people to donate money, so the teachers came up with an idea to get their students involved, too.

All of Seymour Community Schools along with St. Ambrose Catholic School, Immanuel Lutheran School and Trinity Lutheran High School are participating in a fundraiser by having art students make Christmas ornaments. The ornaments are being sold at various school functions and community events for a suggested donation of at least $5 each.

Some of the students are in art clubs, and others are creating the ornaments in their regular art classes or through small group work.

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At Seymour-Redding and Seymour-Jackson elementary schools, art club students have been getting up extra early once a week to create and decorate ornaments.

Redding art teacher Ashley Shuffett said the project is a great way for students to learn about philanthropy and supporting the arts all while making their own art.

Her students are making clay owl and cookie cutter ornaments, which are glazed and painted with oil pastels or dipped in ink and covered in a layer of Mod Podge.

“It helps the kids understand the importance of getting involved and giving back,” Shuffett said.

The goal is for each school to make and sell at least 100 ornaments for a total of 1,000 in the hopes of raising $5,000 for the arts center.

Ornaments have been sold at parent-teacher conferences this fall and will be available during school choral concerts and Seymour High School home basketball games in November and December.

In order to reach a larger audience, the ornaments also are being sold at local craft shows, including the Immanuel Arts and Craft Show and the Pink Wagon Market on Saturday.

Shuffett said about half of her art club students have been to SICA for either summer art camp or one of the free concerts or events the center puts on throughout the year.

“And by doing this project and talking about it, they are more likely to want to go there,” she said.

Fourth-grader Savanna Moore said she visits the arts center regularly to work in the pottery barn.

“It’s fun to learn new things and techniques and create new things,” she said of why she supports SICA. “Everyone should have that opportunity.”

Izzy Stanfield, a fourth-grader, said she would be lost without art. Her favorite medium is painting with oil pastels.

“Art is everything to me,” she said. “It’s fun to be able to create something and express yourself through art.”

Stanfield said she is familiar with the arts center because she took a field trip there through the Boys & Girls Club of Seymour.

“It’s a really neat place, and there’s lots to do there,” she said. “You can draw, paint, do crafts, and they have concerts, too.”

Many of the students making ornaments said they have attended summer art camp at SICA before and would be sad if they couldn’t go again.

Fifth-grader Johnathan Bowling said he got involved in Redding’s art club because he wanted to try something new.

“I’ve done a lot of different things, soccer, swimming, basketball, so I thought why not art?” he said. “It’s fun, and you get messy, and it gets me off the computer.”

At Seymour-Jackson Elementary, art club students have been using different colors, patterns and textures of fabric to make owl ornaments and have been painting pieces of wood trim with both fall and winter scenes to create a different kind of ornament.

Teacher Mariella Wehmiller said all of the fabrics and wood pieces have been donated by a local interior decorator.

“We like to use recycled and donated materials as much as possible,” she said.

Fourth-grader Brooklyn Eathorne said it makes her feel good knowing the ornaments are raising money to support the arts in Seymour.

“I love to share my art because it makes me very happy,” she said.

Fifth-grader Kiley Estes said without art, some students wouldn’t have any kind of outlet for their talents. That’s why she hopes the ornaments sell and they can help keep the arts center open.

“I want to help the community,” she said of her involvement. “Some kids don’t like sports, but they like art. So if SICA closes, they don’t have anyplace to go to for art.”

Estes’ twin sister, Kelsey, said keeping SICA open is important for the youth of Seymour.

“I went to SICA for a Girl Scout trip, and if they close, other Girl Scout troops can’t go,” she said. “I would like to help SICA keep the doors open.”

Without art, fourth-grader Sallie Nicholson said school and life would be boring. That’s why in the summer, she goes to art camp at SICA.

“When I grow up, I want to be an artist like Picasso,” she said.

At a glance

Christmas ornament fundraiser for Southern Indiana Center for the Arts

Ornaments made by students at Seymour Community Schools, St. Ambrose Catholic School, Immanuel Lutheran School and Trinity Lutheran High School will be for sale at the following locations:

  • Immanuel Arts and Craft Show on Saturday at Immanuel Lutheran School in Seymour.
  • Pink Wagon Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Celebrations in Seymour.
  • Seymour-Jackson Elementary choral concerts Nov. 9 and Dec. 7.
  • Southern Indiana Center for the Arts members show and reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at the arts center in Seymour.
  • Seymour High School home basketball games Nov. 21, Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 16.
  • Special Education Parents Advisory Council Holiday Arts & Crafts Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 18 at the American Legion Annex in Seymour.

The cost for ornaments is a suggested donation of at least $5 each.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.