Art museum

NC Art Museum in partnership with local artists

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  • “My favorite thing about art is how you can express yourself through it.” The @ncartmuseum partners with local mentors to bring the arts to students who don’t have a curriculum at their colleges.

  • This @ncartmuseum program connects mentors with students for after-school art programs, and for these students in Roper, NC, that means creating something beautiful for the community.

“I think that’s why I’m still alive today, because I’ve had so many young people,” says Jimmie Sutton as he watches his students sing “Happy Birthday” to a friend and draw in their sketchbooks.

Sutton is an artist from Roper, North Carolina, and has taught art for over 40 years in Washington County and the neighboring school district.

Jimmie Sutton with student Berlanda Godineaux at NCMA’s AIM program in Roper, NC Caroline Parker/EducationNC

After retiring, he pursued his own art full-time, but was drawn back to working with students when the Artist Innovation Mentorship (AIM) of the program North Carolina Art Museum (NCMA) was looking to start something in his hometown.

According to NCMA, AIM is an initiative designed to connect artists from eastern North Carolina communities with local youth for after-school programs. The programs are intended to last six weeks and will take place in several counties in the region.

For Washington County, AIM focused its efforts on sixth graders who do not have an art program in their middle school. In choosing a mentor for the program, NCMA met with members of the community to learn more about local artists. The selection panel was made up of members of Washington County Collegethe Washington County Board of Education and the North Carolina Arts Council.

“We really co-create these programs with each community we enter, and so that (mentor selection) is appropriate for each location”

Angela Lombardi, director of outreach and public engagement at NCMA

Angela Lombardi, director of outreach and public engagement at NCMA, said “the museum is very committed to improving access to creative expression, wherever it is.” She believes that art can help students understand that there are creative solutions to many problems, and while it provides an avenue for self-expression, it also helps develop social learning tools. -emotional.

The program currently focuses on eastern North Carolina, but the museum plans to expand to other regions and hopes AIM cultivates creative thinkers across the state.

Sutton had previously worked on a mural for the Washington County African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center. For the Washington County AIM program, its owners allowed students to continue beautifying the building. NCMA rented the space inside for the band to meet for two six-week sessions.

Here are some of the Washington County Middle School students who participated in AIM, showing off their masterpieces and sharing their stories.

Tayah Simpson

Tayah Simpson and all her friends who joined AIM will be in seventh grade next year at Washington County Middle School. Her favorite thing about the mural was the advice she learned from Sutton. He showed her how to make her original ideas and thoughts less cartoonish and more realistic. His portion of the mural depicts downtown Roper. She says, “My favorite thing about art is how you can express yourself through it.” Caroline Parker/EducationNC

Andre McKleny

Andre McKleny assumed the role of assistant to the painter. He helped by providing his classmates with new brushes, more water, and help when they needed a break. “I just asked them if they needed help and to see what I could do for them,” he says. He loves art, and he is also very interested in science and becoming a firefighter. Caroline Parker/EducationNC

Chayce Hunt Blalock

Chayce Hunt-Blalock likes to use her imagination to draw. This is a sketch of what he calls a “goofy boat”. It has a flower for a propeller, the boat sits on a raft, and at the helm the steering wheel is attached to an urn. He also used his time at AIM to continue drawing his own superhero. His superhero lives on the Extraordinary Planet. He is still inventing the script. Caroline Parker/EducationNC

Gloria Webb

Gloria Webb spent her time at AIM as an assistant to her friends. She enjoys painting, seeing the different colors they worked with, and thinking about the community while making the mural. The community for her is made up of nice people, playgrounds, and places around her hometown. She learned how to mix and match paint colors during her time at this afterschool program. Caroline Parker/EducationNC

Berlanda Godineaux

Berlanda Godineaux likes AIM because she wanted to know what it was like to be in an art class. His piece of mural depicts a sunset. She drew this because it reminds her of hanging out with her family and watching the sun go down over the water. Godineaux also likes to draw other natural things and wants to continue painting and make it a habit. Caroline Parker/EducationNC

Janiysia Armstrong

Janiysia Armstrong loves going to school and really enjoys drawing different designs and locations. She joined AIM because her friends had fun and told her about it, so she joined too. She was responsible for framing the piece and painting leaves on each end of the mural with Sutton’s help. She also helped her friends if they needed help with their drawings. Caroline Parker/EducationNC
And it was the person who brought the students and the mentor together, Rosa Brown. Brown and her husband purchased this building last year to establish the Washington County African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center. She began researching her own family history and believed that there were many more people who would want to contribute to such a museum. The building has enough space for the community to use for programs such as AIM, and they are happy to have the children there. Caroline Parker/EducationNC

Caroline Parker

Caroline Parker is a multimedia storyteller for EducationNC. She covers the stories of rural North Carolina, the arts, and STEM education.