Bayer Fund Rural Community Arts Program Supports Local Classes

Some local kids who might otherwise have missed out on art classes this year are finding out how much fun art can be, thanks to a grant secured by the Ste. Genevieve Art Guild.

In response to an appeal for help after an unexpected, serious glitch developed in this school year’s plans for art education at Hope Christian Academy, the Ste. Genevieve Art Guild — with financial support from the Bayer Fund Rural Community Arts Program — in September began offering an art curriculum for kids enrolled at Hope Christian.

About a dozen-and-a-half private- and home-schooled students from ages 5 to 16 have benefited from weekly, hour-long art instruction by guild members who are retired state-certified art teachers.

The classes, coordinated by guild member and veteran art teacher Peggy Bay, are the first public use of the new Ste. Genevieve Art Center and Art Museum, located at 310 Merchant Street in what was formerly the Ste. Genevieve Museum.  

“The building remains under renovation, and the various contractors have kindly worked around the scheduled classes,” guild president Carolyn Bach said. “Likewise, the teachers have had to pack away tables, chairs and supplies to facilitate the work being done. But the program has gone very well, and we were happy to find a way to make sure these local kids didn’t miss out on art classes this year.”

One recent class activity no one would have wanted to miss was the “Welcome Back” project for the first session of 2020.  The students were challenged to create a still-life painting … of a doughnut.  

“Part of the lesson was an overview of the tradition of painting food, from the very detailed large canvases of the Renaissance to more contemporary popular art movements,” Bay said. “And then they tried it on their own, with the doughnuts as their subject matter. Of course once the art was finished, so were the doughnuts.”

Once the renovations at Ste. Genevieve’s first Art Center and Art Museum are finished, the art guild plans to offer a wide variety of classes that are open to the general public, including a 2020 Summer School of Art for children and adults — another art education project made possible by financial support from the Bayer Fund.

The Bayer Fund is administered by the Arts and Education Council and provides direct support to arts and education projects whose reach extends to rural communities within the bi-state, 16-county reach of metropolitan St. Louis. The Ste. Genevieve Art Guild was one of only five grant recipients chosen for this year.

(Information in a release from the Ste. Genevieve Art Guild.)

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