Young artists from Natchez High display their work on local Wal-Mart’s walls

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Gone are the days of staring at blue walls while the Wal-Mart customer service clerk does a price check on the oversized bag of dog food you hope Fido will like.

Those blue walls now boast the work of budding artists in Natchez High School’s Art I class for all to see.

Upon a proposal from NHS art teacher Jan Meakle, Wal-Mart managers agreed to start displaying the art of NHS students on a rotating basis. Currently the framed art includes drawings, mosaics and abstracts from five Art I students.

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Senior Rebecca Thomas created a spider mosaic from bits of wallpaper, which is now on display.

&uot;I like the way we learn how to do different types of art,&uot; Thomas said of her first year in an art class. &uot;I like design and drawing with colors.&uot;

The Art I students cover as much as they can, Meakle said, including drawings, colored drawings, mosaics, a design using cut paper called mola, self-portraits, paper mache, collages and cartoons. In Art II and III the focus shifts more to an area of emphasis and drawing projects.

Senior Donnie Yarolem has an abstract piece on display at Wal-Mart.

He said he created the art by drawing two separate pictures and cutting them into strips, then putting them together in alternating pieces.

&uot;It took about four days in class,&uot; Yarolem said. &uot;Drawing is my favorite.&uot;

Mississippi high school students have to take a fine arts credit for graduation and can choose from options including art and music at NHS.

&uot;There are some students that have some significant talent,&uot; Meakle said. &uot;They’ve done some really interesting things. The Mississippi state curriculum requires that they get exposed to a lot.&uot;

She said some of the students chose the class thinking it will be an easy credit, but they soon discover that the work is intensive.

Meakle, in her first year at NHS, said she works hard to incorporate science and math lessons into their projects and writes her tests in a format that will help prepare them for standardized state tests.

The art is on display in the customer service area and the layaway area at Wal-Mart indefinitely and will be replaced periodically with new pieces.