The district, under the guidance of teacher Darrellyn Freeman, is beginning an art collection at the junior/senior high school building and is looking to feature artists from northwestern Pennsylvania.
“My long-term hope for this project is that it will become a fundamental part of our curriculum, culture, and community,” Freeman said. “…Art is a powerful tool that can bring people together and celebrate the human condition.”
Freeman, who teaches art to senior high students, was inspired to start the program based on the recommendation of school nurse Jacob Kosker.
He is a graduate of Greater Latrobe School District, where a similar collection was started almost 100 years ago.
“(Kosker) spoke of all the wonderful things that the collection was able to foster in their district and community since its creation during the Great Depression,” Freeman said. She reached out to the school district and was given some guidance on how to start a program at Franklin.
“I presented the idea of starting an art collection in Franklin to the school board and administration over the summer and they offered their full support,” she said.
Through a survey, the students made various remarks in support of the idea as well. Comments included “It would help students be more experienced (and) exposed to things that they wouldn't have been able to before that they might find to be really exciting”; “an art collection would create a more professional, civilized, and cultured school climate at (the high school); additionally, it would provide the students—in this case, the senior class—an opportunity to be directly involved in the development of the school’s culture and environment”; and “it would boost morale among students and give them a sense of pride and admiration while walking in the hallways (which are quite depressing in their current state)."
Submitting artists must be age 18 and older and should submit 2-D designs once a year. Pieces should be representative of the northwest region and could include works produced through drawing, painting, photography, graphic design, and printmaking. Entries may be refused if they are deemed inappropriate for the kindergarten through grade 12 setting.
The deadline for the first round of consideration is December 31, 2022. Additional information is available online at https://sites.google.com/students.fasd.k12.pa.us/fasdartcollection/home.
Art will be purchased through funds raised by the student body. An initial fundraiser and auction will be held at 5 p.m. December 6, prior to 7 p.m. senior high band and choir concert. Students will create artwork to sell at the fundraiser. The school is also accepting donations from the community, according to Freeman.
“Our region is filled to the brim with some incredibly talented artists. Artists who are able to beautifully capture the past, present, and future of the world that we live in. By establishing an art collection, we will have the opportunity to celebrate these talents while providing a sense of pride and ownership for our students, staff, and community,” Freeman said.
Or as one of the students said through the survey, “it would benefit because the community can see the talent we have in our own backyard. It could help the community see the art department as more than just a class but instead as an essential part of our school education.”