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Keeping art alive at Patrick Elementary

GOLD HILL — A popular artist in residence will be funded for another year at Patrick Elementary School, thanks to a $5,500 grant awarded by the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation to the Central Point School District.

Artist in residence Jenny Roderick, who has a certification in art education and a background in art therapy, gives all the 250-plus students instruction in drawing, painting, pastel, clay and other media during the school year.

A Title I school, Patrick Elementary has limited funding for extras such as art, Principal Sara Hanberg said. But school volunteers and community supporters have grown attached to Roderick and rallied to continue funding her classes for the last half-dozen years.

Grant funds will be used to cover costs for personnel and supplies.

“If not for figuring out the funding, this program could not exist," Hanberg said. "It’s one of those things that we all love so much but we hold our breath each year that we will be able to pull it together again for the following year.

“We do some fundraisers. We have volunteers who sell Christmas wreaths to try and help provide extra supplies. ... I know Del Rio is going to be doing a fundraiser art auction soon. It’s heartwarming to see the community step up to try and keep funding for this program going.”

Hanberg said Roderick, who lives in Gold Hill, is a true asset for Patrick, not only providing art instruction but also coordinating the school's Start Making A Reader Today program for at least a dozen years.

Hanberg said the community has found various creative ways to keep the art program alive. One year, a student’s grandparents funded the program — via a large tax refund. Other years, various community groups have provided grant funding.

“It’s something that’s very sweet,” she said.

“The community believes in what we’re doing. We’re lucky to have somebody so incredibly talented to work with our students. This has been something we just have loved being able to provide for our students and will continue to do so for as long as we can.”

— Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.