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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Small brush strokes making a big impact

  • Students at Sunnyside Elementary are given the opportunity to indulge in extracurricular activities thanks to Kindergarten teacher, Peggy Stein. In March of 2011, Stein established a private program she named, Private Opportunity Program (POP) to give kids what they would otherwise not have due to lack of finances or other ba...
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  • Private opportunity Program: students experience Art
    By Nancy Calderon
    Dodge City Daily Globe
    Students at Sunnyside Elementary are given the opportunity to indulge in extracurricular activities thanks to Kindergarten teacher, Peggy Stein. In March of 2011, Stein established a private program she named, Private Opportunity Program (POP) to give kids what they would otherwise not have due to lack of finances or other barriers.
    POP is a privately funded program that offers students of Sunnyside the opportunity to choose from different activities such as music, art, dance/theatre, gymnastics, sports, museum visits, and science camps.  Last year, students enrolled in the art program created pieces they displayed through an art show and this year they are ready to put their work on display once again.
    According to Stein, there are currently 17 students enrolled in the art program, all of whom are learning about contemporary artists this year such as Henry Matisse, Andy Warhol, and Salvador Dali.
    Britta Hartman, a substitute teacher for USD 443 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts, is the person leading the young artists into the world of art by introducing them to historical artists, the different types of art, and aiding students in discovering their inner skills.
    The art program runs from January to May with students meeting for two classes once a week.
    "With each class I ask the kids if they have ever touched a paint brush," Hartman said. "Ninety percent of them say no."
    "I allow them to experience oil paste, acrylic, water color" she said. "And each week we learn about a new master of art, their strategy of painting and then the students will mock their style."
    Students have painted with their feet mocking the style of Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai, and have painted self-portraits wearing moustaches, mocking the style of Spanish surrealist painter, Salvador Dali.
    Hartman says art has inspired her students in many ways.
    "I have a student who wasn't thrilled about school in general, he is now excited to go to middle school because he will have art class every day, " she said. "I've watched another student who is visually-impaired grow from being very shy and timid to being very excited to show her work to other people."
    In essence, the POP program is also a reward for students who are willing to work hard and put the effort forward. Students enrolled in POP activities are all teacher-nominated students and are required to maintain good grades and good behavior in each class.
    "My goal is for kids to be in the real world and be able to see art and know the artist," Hartman said. "I enjoy teaching them that and what I also enjoy is seeing their face light up when they finish an art piece they didn't even realize they could do."
    Page 2 of 2 - This afternoon, the public is invited to an art show where various-style pieces will be on display and the attendees can purchase pieces through a silent auction. All proceeds will go toward funds for the POP program.
    Currently, the program is funded through private donations and most recently has received a grant from The Dreaming Zebra foundation who awarded $1,000 worth in art supplies.  
    *POP program has no affiliation with USD 443 school district, it is a private program through private funding.
    What: Art Show/ silent bid
    Where: Sunnyside Elementary
    When: Tuesday, May 15 at 3:30 p.m.
    Open to the public
    For more information about the POP program contact Peggy Stein at 227-1607. All donations can be made to Community Foundation of Southwest Kansas, P.O. Box 1313, Dodge City, Ks 67801.

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