Students bring Christmas downtown

Published 10:29 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Students from the city’s public schools brought Christmas early to the downtown area.

Elementary school students painted the windows of various businesses, restaurants and administrative buildings in Christmas scenes.

“The students love it,” said Jodie Linkous, art teacher at Oakland Elementary School. “They like doing community art.”

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This year marks the 16th year of the program. The students selected are “Talented Art” or advanced art students, according to Angela Thompson, art teacher at Creekside Elementary School.

Each school selected between four to eight students to participate. The groups were given one or two buildings to paint.

This year’s theme, “Holidays in Toyland,” brought forth unique student creations. The windows were decorated with Christmas trees, snowflakes, gift boxes and popular Christmas characters.

The murals have become a hit not only for the students but for businesses owners as well.

“The kids are excited to spread their artwork,” Thompson said. “But I think the businesses are excited to have it.”

“I think it’s really nice — I love to do it,” said Emily Beitman, an Oakland Elementary School student.

“This brings everybody together,” said Grace Ann Lewis, a server at the Plaid Turnip, one of the participating businesses. “You can really feel the Christmas spirit.”

On Wednesday, students from Booker T. Washington, Creekside, Kilby Shores, Mack Benn Jr. and Oakland elementary schools participated in the mural project. On Thursday, students from John F. Kennedy Middle, King’s Fork Middle, King’s Fork High and Nansemond River High schools will paint.

“This is a really nice thing Suffolk Public Schools does for the community during Christmas time,” Linkous said.

The students’ art can be viewed at the following locations in downtown: All About Virginia and More, BB&T, Bank of America, Baron’s Pub, The Plaid Turnip, the city’s school administrative offices, Subway, Suffolk Peanut Center, the Suffolk News-Herald, SunTrust Bank, Uncork’d, the Virginian-Pilot and Wells Fargo Bank.