By Toni Stauffer
The Sarah West Artistic Mentoring Program for Continued Fine Art Education, in conjunction with the city of Smiths Station, will be hosting a reception to honor the opening of a student art exhibition at the Smiths Station City Hall at 2336 Lee Road 430.
The reception, to be held April 13 from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. ET, is free and open to the public. Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland will open City Hall especially for this historic event, the first of its kind to be held in Smiths Station that honors the arts.
“We’re looking forward to our partnership with the Sarah West Fine Arts Gallery and advancing artistic endeavors in the city,” said Mayor Copeland.
The exhibit will feature the work of 50 of the program’s students who range in ages from five to about 80 years old. Their art will consist of two-dimensional works, such as graphite drawings, oil paintings and other various mediums.
The Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art began the mentoring program in 2008 to meet the need for continued intellectual development through the arts in schools, a need created by a lack of funding for arts programs in East-Central Alabama schools.
“We are leveling the playing field to insure that both those of privilege and those who live well beneath the poverty line know their worth,” gallery owner Sarah West said. “Capability and dreams are not defined by their circumstances but rather how they choose to use and further cultivate the capability that we all possess individually and equally.”
The program has now served hundreds of students in the region, some who have come from as far as Montgomery, and offers as many as 80 classes year-round. In 2017, the gallery began scholarships for local schools, a philanthropic endeavor for students who might not otherwise have the chance to develop their artistic talent.
Earlier this year, the gallery debuted its Extended Day/After school Art Class Program at two Smiths Station elementary schools through sponsorship by the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art Scholarships for Continued Fine Art Education. Funding for the scholarships program was established through a Seed Fund Purchase Gift Program where cultural arts advocates can purchase scholarships that will be distributed to schools in need of assistance. The exhibit will be a culmination of the hard work by students.
“We are honored to have partnered with Smiths Station City Hall and the Mayor’s office, as well as many local leaders who share our appreciation for cultural arts and understand the importance of arts in the community,” West said.
For more information on the exhibit, the mentoring program, or the scholarships program, visit thesarahwestgalleryoffineart.com, or call 334-480-2008. You may also visit the gallery at 2750 Lee Rd. 430 Smiths Station, located next to the Smiths Station Post Office.