Fanciful masks

FAB ArtReach programs creates seasonal art

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Students at the Everett Learning Opportunity Center got an art lesson with a seasonal theme this month when Karol Smith took the Fine Arts Blount ArtReach program to Mrs. Anderson and Renee Venanda’s middle school classes to make fanciful Halloween masks.

The ArtReach program included a background of the history of masquerades. FAB provided the materials for the masks which were made from "Lone Ranger" half masks to which sequins, craft foam, feathers and beads were glued. A total of twenty students participated.

"The art projects are a wonderful way for these students to develop a sense of their ability to create something while learning planning skills, teamwork and patience," says Smith. "At the outset of an art session, there is often a lot of complaining and self-deprecation, but as the project nears completion, these young people are taking pride in their accomplishments."

Some of their work will be included in the FAB annual members’ show and at a special exhibit for their work at the Blount County Library.

Prior to teaching art as a volunteer in Blount County, Smith developed and taught weekly art classes for three years at the Loudon County Chestnut Ridge alternative school. "The enthusiastic, grateful response to my efforts is what draws me to these young people," says Smith. "They are very creative, and it’s gratifying to help channel that energy into constructive skills."

Fine Arts Blount was founded by Karol Smith and Suzanne Stockfisch and eight of their friends in the fall of 2003. FAB achieved 501(c)(3) status in May of 2004, and today numbers 34 participating members and 10 Friends of FAB who assist with exhibitions, and support the group as needed.

ArtReach is FAB’s community outreach effort through which artists provide art classes for the Richard Williams Jr. Leadership Development Academy, and the Blount County alternative school at the Everett Learning Opportunity Center.

Karol Smith is the project director for these efforts, and reports that over 100 students have received art instruction through ArtReach since it began in the fall of 2005. As a result of fund-raising by FAB members, ArtReach is able to supply materials, tools, and instruction at no cost to the schools it serves.

In May of 2006, FAB’s members’ art show at Maryville College included work from the high schools in Blount County, Maryville and Alcoa. The teachers pre-selected student work for inclusion. The work was judged by Connie Shannon, a Florida artist who conducted workshops during the weekend of the members’ show. FAB awarded gift certificates to Jerry’s Artarama to winning students, and awards for art supplies to the honored students’ teachers. FAB’s ArtReach hopes to
expand its services supporting the governor’s program to integrate the arts in the public schools.

One of FAB’s major goals is to secure a permanent location for the organization - a visual arts center where the community can access art classes, see rotating exhibits, and purchase original art.

Those interested in ArtReach services or FAB membership can reach the organization via its website at

© 2006 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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