Artwork by Keystone Heights Elementary School students can now be seen around town in local businesses and government buildings.
The idea was presented by the schools’ art teacher as another way to showcase her students’ work.
In the past, her students’ artwork had been featured in the annual Orange Park Mall elementary art show, but she noticed few local residents were able to attend.
The Clay County District Schools Elementary Art Show returns to the Orange Park Mall April 29 through May 1.
“In the past, our school participated in the art show that is held in the mall,” art teacher Marlena Conrad said. “I noticed after years of displaying the artwork, and inviting students to their reception that the turnout was very low.”
The distance between the Orange Park Mall and Keystone Elementary is approximately 36.6 miles; causing the commute to take up to an hour, depending on traffic and roadwork on Blanding Boulevard and State Road 21.
The COVID-19 pandemic had already inspired Conrad to think of other ways for students’ artwork to be seen and enjoyed, she said. Last year, she asked a few local restaurants if they would display student art, and the response was great, she said.
This year, Conrad has reached out to local government and business partners located in Keystone Heights if they would help her support the students and their families by displaying artwork on windowfronts and on shelving.
Establishments that have agreed to display art are; Johnny's BBQ, Clyde's Cozy Corner Café, Julia's Midtown Café, Keystone Heights Public Library, The Learning Wheel, and Keystone Heights City Hall. The work is displayed now and can be viewed throughout the month of April.
“It has been such a positive experience to partner with these local businesses,” Conrad said. “They have all been so pleased to help, and some have offered to keep student art up throughout the year. I already have ideas for next year, and I hope to share themed art that will complement each establishment.”
The artwork on display has been created by KHE artists from kindergarten to 6th grade and there are a variety of pieces showcasing different skills, processes, and mediums, Conrad said.
All of the art was created this school year, and the students will get to go home with a portfolio of work that will have been seen around town.