Teachers excited for Rockweave

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, October 1, 2019

On Friday, the Rockweave Music and Arts Festival will begin its two-day celebration of music, art and community. However, the festival’s impact will likely be felt long after the last band plays, due to the festival’s commitment to give a portion of all ticket sales to music and art education programs in Troup County schools.

Local teachers say that funding will make possible projects that might not otherwise be possible.

“We try to work with what we have and what we’ve got, but there are sometimes that you might have to put that one [project] on the backburner if you can’t afford a few elements of the project,” said Brittany Shepard, who teaches art to kindergarten through fifth grade students at Hillcrest Elementary School and Franklin Forrest Elementary School. 

Shepard said that she has seen students become engaged through new art mediums to find projects that they love. 

The festival’s focus on music and art also lets children know that their passion for art has value, according to those who work with local art students.

“It gives it value and merit to have support from the community for the art programs,” said Sallie Keith, education director at the LaGrange Art Museum. “The arts are constantly struggling to be viable, and they help center the child and create an education for the whole child.”

Keith also takes part in outreach programs at local schools.

Additionally, art classes help children develop the small muscles in their hands needed for tasks like writing, grasping small objects and fastening clothing. 

“It also helps them work with those different mediums, that way they can develop fine motor skills,” Shepard said. “They can also learn to do something that they probably have never done before. I think it is good exposure. It helps them become more well-rounded.”

The festival has also inspired projects for Shepard’s classes.

“We’ve done a few woven projects, and they’ve really clung to it and loved it right away,” Shepard said. “We’ve made different versions of a final woven product.”

Shepard said that the funding from Rockweave will likely make possible more projects like the weaving craft.  

“I love to incorporate additional three dimensional projects into the classroom and my curriculum with the kids, so I like to work with ceramics and plaster and woven art in addition to the traditional drawing and painting,” Shepard said. “It helps us afford those extra materials that we would need to make more hands-on art that can also be more career focused. It teaches them additional skills.”

Those projects teach children skills that, according to Shepard, can be applied for years to come.

“I notice right away when I introduced the woven project for example, they struggled at first, but then you start to get the groove,” Shepard said. “The kids were really doing well making those movements and following those patterns. It teaches them to really be able to work with their hands successfully. That is why we like to try to introduce a lot of different mediums, so they can find their niche and also learn how to manipulate things with their hands and find something they are interested in.”

Shepard said that her students said they have seen the yarn bombing in downtown and are excited about the festival.

“I think it is going to be great,” Shepard said. 

“I’m really excited about it because I feel like since I’ve been teaching, this is the first big thing they’ve done for art and music. I think it will definitely help us to be able to provide more opportunities for our students.”

For more information about Rockweave or to purchase tickets, visit Rockweave.com.