By Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy: Education columnist
Many are familiar with the Clovis Municipal Schools’ Education Foundation. Established in 2007, the Education Foundation, a separate entity from the Clovis Schools, will have awarded more than $150,000 in grants, scholarships, student awards, and professional development since its inception.
The Education Foundation, headed by Executive Director Jan Cox, is a nonprofit philanthropic organization of community members, who “share a vision of enhancing education.” Each year a number of teachers apply for individual or team grants to provide the sort of educational enhancements that are not covered under general education funds. Its mission: “to provide resources to enrich teaching, inspire learning, and enhance opportunities for all students enrolled in the Clovis Schools.”
One of the latest ventures developed through the Foundation is the “Clovis Young Masters Juried Art Exhibit.” This event was developed through a partnership between the Education Foundation, Clovis Community College, and several community individuals and businesses as an opportunity to showcase the art of students from the CHS Freshman Academy, Clovis High School, and Choices.
The Young Masters Committee members are: Becky Rowley (Clovis Community College President); Lora Harlan (Education Foundation Board Member and former school board member); Ann Rowley (Foundation Board member); Cindy Martin (Deputy Superintendent of Instruction — Clovis Schools); Shirley deMaio (local artist); Carolyn Lyndsey (local artist); Teresa Luce (Gallery Fifteen owner); Kathy Elliott (Elliott Marketing); and Jan Cox, Education Foundation executive director.
Planning was begun in August, and activities rolled out during the course of this past school year. According to committee members, “The purpose of the Young Masters exhibition is to extend the supporting role of the Foundation with Clovis Schools to impact the future of not only the students selected for the show, but also all CHS art students by inspiring them to reach their full potential. Additionally, …to further enhance opportunities for acceptance into premier higher education art programs.”
Entry into the Young Masters was open to all 9th- to 12th-grade students, whether they were enrolled in an art class or not. The response was great, and the entries included paintings, sculptures and photography. The preliminary selections were made at the Clovis High School Lecture Hall on May 8, and the pieces were selected for the final juried exhibit.
The works selected will be exhibited at the Eula Mae Edwards Museum & Gallery at Clovis Community College at the Young Masters Juried Art Exhibition in July. A reception will be held to honor the art students and their families, at which time the winners will be announced. These will include Best of Show, first, second, third places, as well as merit and honorable mention winners.
What a wonderful opportunity for our young people to share their works of art, not only for their own benefit, but for that of the community as well. Former U.S. Secretary of Education, William Bennett, stated: “The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic … music, dance, painting, and theater are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.”
Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at: