Karen Stanton comments in the Piedmont Post

Published on April 12, 2017

Events have life spans just like anything, and it’s time for the beloved PAINTS Bird House Gala & Auction to be officially put out to pasture. After sixteen years of birdhouses, a new, young enthusiastic group of art-loving PAINTS board members will launch a new art education fundraising event called The Big pARTy on May 12th 5-7pm at the Piedmont Center for the Arts. You will see more on that event in future issues of the POST.

I hope you all will support art education and attend. I’ll see you there (and I’m bringing some art.)

The retirement of The Bird House Gala does not mean that art education and PAINTS no longer need your support. Nothing could be further from the truth. This year, as our new administration threatens to cut national funding to the arts, it’s more important than ever that we keep up the fight for excellent arts education in our schools. This means visual art, music, theater, dance, all creative acts that nurture students’ brains and bodies.

Many of you are aware of the shift in the elementary school art education program, which made it impossible for me (an un-credentialed art teacher) and the other elementary art teachers to continue teaching art at Havens, Beach and Wildwood except as after school teachers. This shift, a transition that will take some getting used to by everyone, includes one very positive change in my opinion. For years, PAINTS has been crusading for the inclusion of visual art as a validated curricular area of study along with math, science, reading, and music. That shift has finally happened and along with that comes the requirement for accredited teachers. Not teaching artists.

Okay, I think it’s silly, but I’m not in charge. But I am thrilled to see visual art education get the respect it deserves at the elementary level. Of course, funds are still needed to provide this education and to enrich arts programs at all six Piedmont schools. And PAINTS is called on to help make that happen.

Anyway, I have loved all the years of producing the Bird House Gala and I’ll miss it. But before I fade into the sunset, my personal thanks go to so many great people:

  • The innumerable local artists who cheerfully donated their work over the years especially Daryl Rush, Suzie Skugstad, Lea Samuel and Raul Jorcino who donated every year since the beginning!
  • all the local businesses and art lovers who supported us by underwriting our event,
  • the homeowners who opened their private gardens to us
  • DJ Grubb for happily supplying us with champagne every year
  • every board member who sweated to make the event happen rain or shine especially Patty Reed, Kristen Malan, Susan Crown, Lea Samuel, Betsy Lalli, Narda Skov, Hilary Davis Zukerman, Diana Gleghorn and Lara Shepard.
  • Gray Cathrall for always covering our event with style.
  • The PHS Bird callers who graced us with their calls every year.
  • Every one of you who came and bid and supported art education.

 Thank you and see you at the PAINTS Big pARTy!

Karen Stanton is a local artist, children’s book author/illustrator, art teacher, former PAINTS board member and the originator of the PAINTS Bird House Gala & Auction.

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