August 21, 2008

Fine Arts Instructors Eager for New Class

By Lerone Graham [email protected] 381-8621

With Wednesday marking the beginning of another school year in Montgomery County, Christiansburg High School's fine arts instructors say they are ready to mold a group of artistic minds and also learn what the students can teach them.

Christiansburg High art instructor Betty Moore's students didn't have to wait for the start of the school year for a chance to display their work. The Coffee Depot in Christiansburg is displaying pieces from eight of Moore's students.

The exhibit will run through Aug. 29 and includes a portrait of Albert Einstein by Dani Motley, which uses word cutouts of his various quotes and theories to construct his hair; and "And She Floated Away," a painting of a woman attached to a hot air balloon by Bridget Alderman.

"I'm real proud of my students. It's really nice to have a place downtown to display their artwork," Moore said.

Carrie Lyons, also an art instructor at Christiansburg High, said she would have liked for her students' work to be on display as well, but circumstances prevented them from submitting work to the exhibit -- "My students were too attached to their work to give it up for the summer," she said with a smile.

In addition to this summer's exhibit, Christiansburg High students' art has been featured in a showcase at the Montgomery Museum every March for the past 11 years.

With summer vacation coming to an end, Moore and Lyons said they are preparing for a new set of faces to enter their classrooms and eagerly anticipating the return of the familiar ones.

On Thursday, the duo's main concern wasn't shaping the next set of van Goghs and Rembrandts but cleaning their messy art studio.

"We're trying to get the room back organized for tonight," said Moore, referring to Welcome Back Night, an open house at which students and parents can visit teachers, pay class dues and find out about clubs and activities.

The two have been teaching art for a combined total of nearly 30 years -- Moore has been teaching for 22 years, while Lyons has been teaching for seven.

The two teach three core classes in addition to Advanced Placement courses. Some classes include Art Foundations I, which is entry level; Art Foundations II, which deals with 2-D and 3-D; and Art Foundations III, advanced painting and drawing.

"I'm always excited to start a new year," Moore said.

She said she enjoys seeing students come back excited and rejuvenated from their summer vacations, ready to learn about art. Lyons said her favorite part of beginning a new school year is when a new group of freshmen arrives and she can begin to see who the advanced students will be down the line.

"It's just rewarding to see the students love art as much as we do and discover what they can do," Moore said.

For Lyons, the most rewarding part of her job is meeting new students and learning who they are.

"You get to know them really well. I like just getting to know what they're interested in, even if it's not art related," she said.

This year's curriculum will have a stronger emphasis on art history and principles of design. With times changing and technology rapidly advancing, Lyons and Moore are also finding new ways to teach art. Last summer they both took a course in Adobe Photoshop, a computer program that allows users to manipulate digital images, so they can prepare students for what they will experience in a college art course.

"But knowing kids today, they could probably teach us something," Moore said.

Want to go?

n What: Pieces by students Bridget Alderman, Lauren Ashe, Marena Coppola, Carmen Graves, Avalon McMullen, Dani Motley, Gwen Sewell and Jenn West, coordinated by art teacher Betty Moore will be on display through Aug. 29.

n When: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

n Where: The Coffee Depot, 41 W. Main St., Christiansburg

n Contact: 381-7975,

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