Carissa Potts is a high school junior, but she already knows how she wants to earn a living: creating art.
Potts and her Prattville High School classmates were among the hundreds taking part in Trojan Art Day on Friday at Troy University’s Troy Campus. The event featured art workshops and demonstrations led by TROY students and faculty.
For her, it represented an opportunity to explore her passion amongst peers from other schools, learning some of the skills and possibilities that await her in the future.
“I enjoy how it really inspires creativity and communication between different schools, and how we talk with each other about the various art programs,” Potts said. “It’s something I hope to do as a career someday, so coming together and working with different high school students is a great opportunity.”
She said Prattville attended Trojan Art Day in her freshman year, but attended a festival at a different university last year. They returned to TROY, she said, because Trojan Art Day gives students more interaction and hands-on experience.
“There’s just more involvement with other students and activities here,” Potts said.
Students from TROY’s Department of Art and Design helped the younger students throughout the day.
Maddie Cribbs, a junior graphic design major from Gulf Shores, wishes she’d been able to attend Trojan Art Day when she was Potts’ age.
“It’s really fun, and you get to try out a lot of different mediums,” Cribbs said. “It’s a way to show what we have to offer in the department. It’s fun for us to be able to show the kids here what we do, what we can create, what comes out of this department so that they’ll be more inclined to come here and create fun stuff like we do.”
With arts programs taking hits in high schools around the country, college art students say art outreach events are critical.
“My school did not have an art program at all,” said Emily Jones, a senior art major from Daleville. “I had to take private art lessons through high school just to keep art in my life. I think this is a great idea for kids, because art is a way for kids to outlet emotions and things they don’t understand. It gets things out you didn’t know you had. It can be a release for people.”
The day allowed students to work in a variety of art fields.
“I never would’ve thought of art as screen printing or pottery,” Jones said. “This day shows kids, if you do go for an art major or minor, this is what we have to offer. This is how you can grow in it. We show them the fun part of it.”
Nearly 300 middle and high school students and their parents from 24 Alabama counties participated in the day of activities, led by TROY students and faculty, which concluded with the District II Visual Arts Achievement Program awards ceremony.