Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence County art show brings the community together

BEDFORD – The Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence County held an art show for their students Thursday night, to help show off what they have attained in their Makerspace Lab as well as build interest in their program.

The Boys and Girls club of America awarded a $5,000 grant to the club to use for their arts programs at all five sites and will have a national contest for children to participate in with art submissions being accepted from January 14th, 2022 until February 18th, 2022.

Frank Decker

Chief Professional, Frank Decker, said the art show was used as a way to build interest in having students participate in the national conest.

“Our thinking was to try and create interest in the contest, by holding our own art show and having board members come in and judge the pieces of work at all of our locations and give awards to the kids to help gain that interest for the contest,” said Decker.

Community members making their way around the works of art

Decker shared that in the past, within working at the North Lawrence Career Center, some students hadn’t had the opportunity to use this equipment before.

“On a selfish note, I worked at the career center and was getting kids who had not had the opportunity to be exposed to this type of learning,” Decker said. “I felt it was important to get the kids involved in this type of learning, to not only expose them to this lab, but to show them what kind of opportunities there are in the world with this type of learning.”

Checking out the 3-D printing that was going on live during the show

Decker felt that the art show was a great way to show families and the community what kind of learning is taking place within the lab.

3-D printer in action

“It gives us a chance to have a community engagement night and to show off our Makerspace Lab and what the kids are able to do within the lab. It’s a win-win for sure,” said Decker. “With the ability of the clubs coming together and opening this space, the club applied for the Regional Opportunity Initiatives grant to put together the STEM Makerspace area.”

This router was made in house with the 3-D printers on hand and is fully functional

Vic Makximenko, Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence County STEM Coordinator, said that showing kids what is attainable and possible is the most important fact of the Makerspace Lab.

“Expose the kids to the art of the possible, and from that we can hopefully have the kids gain the interest and from that they can pursue STEM type careers,” said Makximenko. “The goal is to show the kids what they can do now with our lab, and how they can apply that to their future educational pursuits and potential careers.”

Community members and kids making their way around the room

“It is all very applicable to what they can do now. This isn’t the future, this is now and we are working to get the kids the proper exposure so they can pursue careers in automation, because that is what this really is,” Makximenko said. “3-D printing is automation, and that is a big field to get into, especially in this region.”

Boys and Girls Club Teen Director Bram Boyd said that having the event and showing off the works of art is a great way to get the kids the recognition they diserve.

Other works of art by students of the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence County

“We want to show off what they are doing here with their learning,” Boyd said. “It is important to give them the recognition for their great work and showing off some of the new ways they are making art with the new technology available to them.”

The Makerspace Lab isn’t just for fun, but allows the opportunity to have a thought come to life all while the children are learning to use their brains.

Trophies that were presented to the children for their works

“Anything they can imagine, they can craft online and have it come to life,” said Boyd. “This type of manufacturing is what employers in this area are looking for, and we are providing the training they will need when getting into the workforce.”

The art show was judges by anonymous board members who voted Lincoln Elementary as the overall contest winner of the event, with individual winners of the evening including:

Artwork by first place winner Jordan Lake of Lincoln Elementary

Lincoln Elementary:

  • First place: Jordan Lake
  • Second place: Cora Cummings & Lakota Wilkerson
  • Third place: Penelope Dusard
Limestone Unit first place artwork by Addison Potter

From the Limestone Unit:

  • First place: Addison Potter
  • Second place: Maddie Stroud
  • Third place: Olivia Jones
Dylan Chastain’s first place artwork at Shawswick Elementary School

From Shawswick Elemenary School:

  • First place: Dylan Chastain
  • Second place: Azalia Judah
  • Third place: Aria Crouch
First place artwork from the Oolitic K-8 campus by Shay Hecht

From the Oolitic K-8 Campus:

  • First place: Shay Hecht
  • Second place: Saria Pulliam
  • Third place: Anna Parker
Brenden Jones first place artwork at the Teen Center

And from the Teen Center:

  • First place: Brenden Jones
  • Second place: Lana Bishop
  • Third place: Kailyn Meyers & Trento Dodds