It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… 

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Suffolk Public School Students paint downtown for the holiday season

As part of tradition, elementary school students are again bringing joy to the Suffolk downtown with their art creations at local businesses.

Booker T. Washington Elementary School Art Teacher Evelyn Darrah and Suffolk Public Schools Coordinator of Fine and Performing Arts Dr. Joleen Neighbours both spoke about the project and what they hope the kids and the public will take away from it.

“This is a tradition that’s been going on for maybe two decades,” Neighbours said. “We’re having the Suffolk Public School students come and paint downtown business windows. It’s a wonderful tradition, it highlights the partnership between the city, the business and the school system.”

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She said it’s not only good exposure for the students, but it also spreads goodwill for the holidays.

“Who doesn’t love a little kid painting snowflakes on their window?” Darrah said. “We have other elementary schools right now out painting and we’re going to have the high schools in a couple days. We like to spread holiday cheer with our teams classes, which are our higher level art classes that our kids have to compete, and this is a great way for them to show their skills to the community.”

Darrah said they are going with a winter theme that is inclusive to all people, no matter what they celebrate.

They both spoke on what they hope both the children and the Suffolk community will take away from the town paintings.

“I hope that the public sees it and understands the value of the arts to students as well as the community,” Darrah said. “And for the kids, I think this is an example of the ways in which they can use art as a career and bring it into their futures.”

Neighbours said she loves to see the children look at things and take ownership for their work.

“‘Hey I did that!’” she said she hears the children say, “and then they’re really excited about bringing their mom and dad downtown. So now you got the kids wanting to come downtown with their parents and their families”

She said this is a really well-rounded program, getting the kids involved in community service.

“Then, they see their work and they own it,” Neighbours added. “And then the businesses get to see what we do day to day in our school buildings. It’s all about community.”