Trinity Art Club students brighten up downtown storefronts

Fantastic weather allowed high school students to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon painting the town.

Trinity Lutheran High School art teacher Carrie Adler posted on the TLHS Art Room Instagram page, which transferred to her personal Facebook page, that she was looking for downtown Seymour businesses that would let Art Club members paint a spring theme on their storefront windows. She also emailed parents since many of them are connected with or own businesses.

By the end of the day, she said they were booked with 10 spots.

“The response was both surprising and humbling, as all of those willing participants were trusting in our group to paint on their storefront windows,” Adler said. “To me, that says a lot about the willingness of our local community to support our students, even before they knew if we could live up to the expectation.”

The event served as a fundraiser for the club. Businesses chose how much they wanted to donate to have their storefront windows painted.

The students came up with their own designs and discussed the options and possibilities with Adler.

“I also had a couple of business owners ask for something specific, and that was helpful for some to have some guidance for what direction to go in for their windows,” Adler said.

Thirteen students joined Adler for about three hours on April 5 for the Paint the Town event. There were even two graduates with siblings or friends that invited them to help.

Seniors Ella Christopher and Brayden Stockelman painted the windows at Dragonfly Boutique on South Chestnut Street.

“When I heard we were painting windows for Art Club, I was very excited,” Christopher said. “I have painted windows downtown before for other service projects, as well, so it was a thrilling experience to not only raise money for Art Club but also brighten the community by doing so.”

Stockelman said he had paint, brushes, water, step stools and designs ahead of time so he was prepared for painting.

“It was cool to see our designs go from paper to window and be able to see what we accomplished as a team,” he said.

Christopher thanked Adler for giving members the opportunity to do a fun activity that displays their artistic abilities and creativity.

“Being able to do this with my fellow Art Club members shows how we are able to work as a team to create beautiful art for the community and our school,” she said.

As people drive or walk around downtown and see the paintings, Stockelman said, “I hope it makes people not only realize the time and effort Trinity students put into their works of art but also makes them feel the joy of spring and Easter.”

Adler said she is proud of all of the students and their work.

“They showed up ready to work,” she said. “Some came early, some stayed late and they all did so many creative pieces. I think you can really see the personalities of the kids shine through in their window art. I’d say that is the best part about seeing the finished product.”

Since there aren’t many public displays for students to show their art talents, Adler said Paint the Town gives them a chance to be recognized.

“This is a fantastic public installation opportunity for our students to be seen outside of our school building,” she said. “I post their work on social media, but pictures never do their work justice. I appreciate the businesses who provided us with our public canvases.”

She received several thank-you emails and social media post tags from the business owners.

“It has been a joy to see it spread so quickly, and we have received all positive feedback so far,” Adler said.

Funds raised from the project will help the club in several ways.

“First of all, it can supplement our regular classroom budget in a pinch and for special projects, like murals around the school,” Adler said. “In the past, we have purchased two potter’s wheels in different years, so now, we have four total wheels available for the students. And we also use the funds we raise to take our Art Club on a field trip. This year, we have plans to go to Columbus for the architectural tour in late April/early May.”

Adler brought the Art Club to Trinity nine years ago after she had a fairly active club in a past teaching job.

This school year, the club has met five times as a group either before school or during specials period. Members also can communicate through Google Classroom.

The group now is working on a fundraiser featuring Trinity-related stickers designed by members. Those will be sold before school and during the Spring Fine Arts Festival from 1 to 3 p.m. April 24 before the variety show at the school.

Adler said that’s likely the last club activity for the school year. Next fall, though, she said they are thinking of painting windows for the Seymour Oktoberfest.

“We may change a few things or limit the space we paint on each storefront so we can do more than what we were able to accomplish this time,” she said.

With the recent Paint the Town, Adler had to turn away about 10 more interested businesses.

“I tried to put a few on a waiting list, but on that day, we quickly realized that we were not going to be able to get to those on that list,” she said. “I think that if we were to do this again, we may set up some different parameters or paint for two days and try to accommodate those other businesses.”

She and the club feel blessed to have a community that’s willing to rally behind their events.

“I want to thank our community for supporting our students in a way that we cannot do alone,” Adler said. “Our students feel special and cared for when they are recognized by others. We are striving to create our future leaders and servants, and our community fosters that by allowing events like our Paint the Town fundraiser to be a success.”