Some Lauderdale County students with special needs are learning the power of creativity thanks to a visiting artist.
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Winki Allen spent this week at Southeast Elementary and heads to Northeast Elementary next week. Her residency is made possible through the Mississippi Very Special Arts Initiative.
Allen said the program allows students to be artists without leaving their classrooms.
“We try to do activities they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to do,” she said.
Allen said that in the past, students with special needs weren’t often getting hands-on art instruction, so schools decided to solve the problem by inviting visiting artists into the classroom.
Allen said that each year, she tries to do different things with students, offering activities such as fabric design or painting clay bowls.
Southeast students Brody Thompson, 9, and Callie Chatham, 8, were busy Thursday painting their own bowls.
“I love doing art," Brody said, dipping his brush in the paint.
Cindy Felder, a special education teacher at the school, said art serves two purposes in her classroom. One, it allows her students the express their feelings. It also helps them relax, she said.
"For students with autism, it helps calm them," she said. "So we try to do a lot of art in the classroom.”