HOPE, Ark.—You're in the fifth grade at Beryl Henry Elementary School in Hope and you spend class time with an egg?
Yes, an egg.
Artist Sue Allen Pico of Clinton, Ark., is an Artist in Education instructor who teaches a variety of artistic skills to students around the state. Billed as the Art Lady of Arkansas, Pico is a master dye artist in the Pysanka style (Ukrainian) of egg art.
Using a specialized tool for creating tiny wax lines, she recently demonstrated to 125 students how to paint designs with layers of wax and dye.
Except for the inevitable, occasional, broken egg, the students' finished products (complete with glued, gold hangers and monofilament line) were, according to one student, who summed up the creations in three words: "Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!"
The AIE programs, co-sponsored by the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council, Hope Public Schools and the Arkansas Arts Council, will bring six artists to area schools this school term to focus on art, history, math, drama and other areas of study with teachers and students.
Pico will do a return trip to Hope to teach an art and history lesson on homesteading, including having students design a covered wagon and outfitting it for a cross country trip. This lesson is timely since 2018 is the Hempstead County bicentennial.
For her part, Pico said she not only enjoys the art and design exercises involved in the AIE programs but also gets "intense pleasure from watching the faces of the students as they discover new adventures through art."
Bobbie Jean Smith, AIE coordinator, said, "Without exception, the AIE artists represent the state art community and their respective art disciplines extremely well. The students and teachers are exposed to new ways to express art and how it can be intertwined with various subject matter and lesson plans."
George S. Smith, SWAAC executive director, said, "Bobby Hart, Hope school district superintendent, and the school principals deserve the credit for understanding the importance of introducing art in the lives of people at an early age.
"The AIE program is designed to complement the school curriculum and the efforts of the artists have been lauded by administration officials and teachers alike."