Troy Elementary School students gain multi-cultural experience through the IAC’s Trojan Junior Warrior program

Student worker Rickie Cloutier helps Troy Elementary student screen print a Trojan Junior Warrior t-shirt.

Student worker Rickie Cloutier helps Troy Elementary student screen print a Trojan Junior Warrior t-shirt.

Close to 150 fifth graders and teachers from Troy Elementary School took part in a variety of art activities and learned about exhibits at Troy University’s International Arts Center last month as a part of the IAC’s Trojan Junior Warriors program.

The program, which began in 2017, has become a staple field-trip opportunity that seeks to offer students an immersive, multi-cultural experience, said Carrie Jaxon, IAC Director and Curator.

“Our goal is to offer an immersive arts and multicultural experience for our young students,” Jaxon said. “We want to fuel our young community members’ interest in the arts and this program is the opportunity to open the door of our museum, and our university, to them. We want them to know we are their museum and we’re just down the street from their school and homes.”

As a part of the program, the students spent part of the day at the IAC, where they explored the art galleries, participated in a graffiti-inspired workshop based on IAC’s featured artist, Winfred Hawkins, screen printed their own t-shirts that they wore at the end of the day, and learned about the Terracotta Warrior installation and history.

TROY Art Education students assisted with the program, providing them with valuable skills and experiences for their future careers, Jaxon said.

The other portion of the day was spent with staff and student volunteers from Troy University’s International Programs, where the children were able to make traditional Chinese bracelets and Chinese paper cutting designs, as well as participate in a dragon dance with a traditional Chinese parade dragon costume.

The students also enjoyed their opportunity to experience the Troy Campus, eating meals in Trojan Dining and feeding the fish and turtles in the pond in the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park.

The program extends beyond the field trip experience, Jaxon said, noting that teachers use the experience to talk about a wide range of topics in class including Chinese history, the origins of graffiti, creativity, museum behavior, among others.

“Troy Elementary is a great collaborator, especially, Jennifer Lindsey, who helps organize the annual field trip,” Jaxon said. “The program is greatly enriched by the participation of TROY’s International Programs, which included staff and Chinese student volunteers, who conducted the art projects.” 

For the third year in a row, the IAC Trojan Junior Warrior program was generously supported through a project grant through the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Sodexo also contributed through in-kind gifting.

“This valuable grant funding and in-kind gifting helps the program to be offered to Troy Elementary School completely free of charge, with expenses such as teacher substitutes, bus costs, lunch and snack costs to be completely covered by the IAC,” Jaxon said.