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Explorer K-8 art teacher opens her classroom for students before classes begin each morning


The doors open at Explorer K-8 at 9 a.m. School starts at 9:25 a.m. In between those two times interested students can go to art teacher Roxanne Campbell's classroom and work on masterpieces.

"I saw there was a need for art," she said. "I just do it because I know they want to be there."

Students only see Campbell for art classes during school hours in rotation throughout the year, so she felt they could use more art time.

The students don't have a lot of time, but they go right to work on whatever strikes their fancy. That might be pencil drawing, painting or gluing pieces of wood together.

"They are so committed," Campbell said.

She started opening her classroom only on Tuesdays. "Now about every day they come to the door," she said. She announces ahead of time when she has a meeting or appointment and won't be there.

Second-grader Chris Zugg, 8, is new to the open art room. He was there recently working with wood. He said he came because, "It's really fun."

Fifth-grader Jessica Giacobbi, 11, said she drops in because she likes to draw. She's been stopping in since Campbell started back in the fall.

"I like drawing portraits, especially eyes. They're mystifying. They draw you in. They captivate you," she said.

Fifth-grader Jerome Walker, 10, has been coming for about two months.

"I come here because it's fun and it's something I normally didn't do," he said. "So I thought I'd try it out."

Fifth-grader Breanna Nigro, 11, has been coming for about half the year.

"I like to do art and it's a lot of fun and we get to use things we normally wouldn't be able to, like our water color crayons," she said.

Breanna explained how the crayons work.

"You scribble a little and then take water and spread it around." She was working on a big, two-toned pink water-color crayon flower.

Fifth-grader Nina Cupaiuolo, 11, has also been coming since the beginning and said she enjoys doing portraits. She appreciated the opportunity.

"It's where I can express myself, where I can let my imagination go," she said. "It makes me happy."

To Campbell, it's not enough to just produce art. "They need to show their work," she said.

She found a venue with Nicholson Engineering Associates Inc., of Brooksville.

"Everyone's an artist in the family," Campbell said, "so they built a gallery."

She approached Michael Nicholson about showing her students' work in the family's gallery and they arranged to do so. She took framed two-dimensional work, but also invited the students to create artworks. Campbell put out what she called junk, bits of yarn and ribbon, feathers, pine coins, fair scrunches, pieces of lace and felt and a plastic bug. Students and even a few staff members came by to glue these things together into fanciful creations.

The drawings and paintings were hung on the walls and the glued pieces were hung from a student-produced chain, made of stapled crepe paper and newspaper. The chain, Campbell said, connected the art, "Because art connects us all."

See their art

The Nicholson Engineering Associates Inc. public art gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and is located at 7468 Horse Lake Road in Brooksville.

Explorer K-8 art teacher opens her classroom for students before classes begin each morning 05/27/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 9:05pm]
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