EPB has selected 10 winners from Hamilton County Schools for the third annual “ArtSpark Goes to School” challenge. The high school students were honored on Thursday during an event at EPB’s downtown building. Throughout the month of May, their work will be displayed in the EPB windows at the corner of Market St. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The student artwork has also been used to beautify EPB utility boxes located across the community. With the completion of this year’s ArtSpark program, EPB will now have 25 utility boxes wrapped with student artwork. The following students contributed their work for this year’s project:
Center for Creative Arts – Faith Daan, Hope Daan, Olivia Gonzalez
Central High – Breanna Long
CSAS – Jack Buffington
Hixson High – Diana Huynh, Ashlyn Sowers
Sale Creek High – Taylor Emerson
Soddy Daisy High – Lillian Dent, Sarah Tindell
EPB “ArtSpark Goes to School” partners include Hamilton County Schools, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, River City Company, ArtsBuild and Public Art Chattanooga. The program engages high school students through STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) where students learn about electricity while creating artwork for public spaces. The students used digital cameras, professional graphic design and photography software to design their artwork with the help of their art teachers and design experts.
“Our student-artists have engaged in a simulated professional process that supports our goal of every student graduating Future Ready including planning their work, receiving feedback through conferencing, and submitting requested revisions,” said Claire Stockman, Hamilton County Schools Content Lead for Visual & Performing Arts. “With the support of our excellent teachers, these students have created beautiful and compelling public art that will inspire viewers for years."
“ArtSpark helped energize students and provided a bright spot in what has been collectively one of the most challenging school years for students, teachers, and parents in decades,” said Eric Keller, CSAS teacher. “The anticipation of the competition results coupled with the real-life application of these designs being displayed publicly created an exciting classroom environment.”
The students created artwork to fit EPB utility boxes based on this year’s theme “Community Sparks.” Students were asked to create a design that showed the power of working together to make our community stronger.
“My idea for this project was to make a picture of people of different colors coming together in peace and in harmony and showing love for each other,” said Sale Creek High student Taylor Emerson. “I wanted it to show equality which means leaving no one out. My artwork represents a strong community that is there for each other and that we can care for each other as well. It shows a strong bond that we can have together as people.”
“We received outstanding artwork from Hamilton County high school students,” said Kelvin Boyd, EPB Marketing Specialist. “It was difficult to pick just ten from a record 166 entries. A panel of judges of community partners made the decision using a rubric without knowing the students’ names or which schools they attended. Despite having to go virtual because of the pandemic, this project grew 100% from last year.”
EPB has created vinyl wraps from the winning student designs which will cover utility boxes for at least a year. The locations this year are in the Bluff View Art District, Downtown Chattanooga City Center, the MLK Community, the North Shore, the Riverfront and the Southside.
“This year’s ArtSpark theme resonates on many levels during a year filled with many challenges,” said Laurie Allen with the UTC Arts-Based Collaborative. The increased participation in this year’s program not only reflects the meaningful experience ArtSpark provides students but also the importance of real-world learning opportunities in and through the arts.”
EPB and its partners are dedicating this year’s contest to the late Dr. Joel Baxley, the former director of Visual Art Education at UTC’s Southeast Center for Education in the Arts, who helped start the student “ArtSpark Goes to School” program. His wife, Nancy, shared remarks in his memory at the event.
“Dr. Joel Baxley would be proud to see the impact and growth of this program,” Ms. Allen said.