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TL school introduces community art program

Volunteers sought for program

In January, Trout Lake School received a service-learning grant, and the school intends to use it "wisely" through offering more opportunities for students and community members to collaborate on art-related projects.

Trout Lake School superintendent/prinicipal Doug Dearden explained he wanted to incorporate more art opportunities into the day; however, until now the school has lacked the finances to enhance the arts.

The Community Engagement Center (CEC) grant provides both the vision and the funding. By developing a number of after-school programs in the arts, the school is hoping to create exciting service-learning opportunities for students and community members.

This year, four events are planned around the grant money: a community play, a joint school and community trip to The Children's Theater in Portland, an all-school art project and an after-school community art program. Service learning means embarking on a project with clear learning objectives, meeting genuine community needs, and incorporating reflection -- or culminating projects -- into every undertaking.

"How Does Your Garden Grow?," directed by Harmony Allaway is a lesson in character education. It is a musical primarily geared toward Kindergarten through 4th graders; however, numerous older students are involved in the speaking parts and in planning, mentoring, and prop construction.

On March 9, the middle school ventures into Portland to see "The Giver," a play based on Lois Lowery's book.

Additional tickets will be given to community members who would like to participate (and possibly lead) some special pre- and post-discussions and activities wrapped around the themes of choice, feelings, memories, rules and hope.

Professional artists share their skills with students (and community members, if space) on Monday afternoons (3:15pm-5pm).

Local painter Bonnie White, illustrator Leslie Wallace, sculptor Dave Sherburne, photographer Darryl Lloyd and jeweler Sarah Arnold (among others) are matched with a student apprentice to provide a service-learning opportunity between the student and his mentor.

And finally, in May, the school hosts a bi-annual all-school art project. Students spend about two weeks focusing on a collective project.

This year students are encouraged to be more involved with peer mentoring. A selection from this year's project will be presented (by students) in a public forum and perhaps displayed at the Trout Lake Arts Festival.

Because the funds are coming from a federal service-learning grant each component comprises a community need, a service-learning aspect and a reflection activity.

The grant is gleaned from the third year of the Northwest Rural Project that takes place in six communities in Washington, Montana and Alaska.

The mission of the grant is two-fold: to train community members in national service and to encourage youth to help make positive changes in their community.

If Trout Lake reaches their goal of creating more opportunities for art -- and satisfies the mission of the grant -- then they would be a strong contender to receive similar funds for the next three years.

If you would like to be involved at any level, call CEC grant coordinator Stephanie Irving, 395-2065 or email at


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