Troy’s 13th annual Art Day, which occurred Friday, saw approximately 300 middle and high school students participating.
“Trojan Art Day is used to get high schoolers into the art department, to let them do art, actually experience art, and it encourages more art programs in their schools, and hopefully they’ll become graphic design or art majors in the future,” said Nelson, a junior graphic design major from Pike Road, who preferred to be referred to only by their last name in the article.
Art Day is the culmination of the Visual Arts Achievement Program (VAAP), a statewide competition sponsored by the Alabama State Council of the Arts. Teachers from each participating high school pick 10 works from 10 students to take part in the VAAP.
“It’s just a way of recognizing young artistic talent,” said Larry Percy, an associate professor of art and organizer of the event.
Faculty at Troy University receive art submissions, judge them and host the award ceremonies. The Department of Art and Design also takes advantage of this opportunity to have a fun day and represent the department to younger students.
“First and foremost, we want to encourage many of those students who maybe didn’t get picked to partake in VAAP, but are still talented,” Percy said. “It’s a way for them to come and still participate and get to know Troy University.
“Secondly, it’s a huge recruiting tool for us. It allows both our professors and our students, whom we consider to be some of our best ambassadors, to share what we have and what we offer here in the Department of Art and Design in Malone Hall.”
Students arrived early Friday morning to partake in different art workshops throughout the morning. In the afternoon, they attended the ceremony for the VAAP District 2 winners, 17 of whom will go on to the State Competition.
“I really like it,” said Victoria Gabrielle Reeves, a senior from Pike County High School. “I like being around people that are like me.
“I was really excited to do this, because I knew there would be a lot of energy that is like my energy, and I could vibe really well with people.”
The workshops provide the opportunity for all interested students to learn more about art and create something, even if they were not able to take part in the competition.
“I feel like it’s a positive impact,” Nelson said. “It encourages them to be creative, because a lot of this stuff they can either do at home or do a version of it at home.
“It encourages them that art isn’t just something to be ignored.”
Majors in the Department of Art and Design volunteered to help with the day and the workshops.
“It’s been great,” said Nelson, who has participated the past two years.
“Honestly, it’s just a really rewarding experience getting to work with kids because I’ve been there, wanting to do more art in schools, and I did not have that and I wish I did.”
“There is absolutely no way we could do this without our students, especially those art education majors, but we have all sorts of studio and design majors that volunteer,” Percy said. “Without them we couldn’t do it.
“I think, on top of that, their advocacy and their excitement about what we do here is what makes it so successful.”
Percy said Art Day was everything they thought it would be and more.