Coalton Elementary School students pre-k through 5th grade created a forest inspired art installation. This is a school-wide project with all of the students participating and adding their own element to the completed artwork. The installation project has a rigorous timeline of four days and challenges the students artistically. The students create art individually as well as collaborating as a group while learning not only about art and the artistic process but also the forest ecosystem.

This is the sixth year that ArtsBank teaching artists have completed an installation with Coalton Elementary School, and the students continued to build on their experiences and expertise of past years. As the students participate each year the depth and understanding of the artistic process increases as well as their fine motor skills. The theme this year was "Appalachian Forest" inspired the Coalton area. After reading the book, the students created an art project that correlated with the theme and book. “Each year we have raised our expectations while challenging the students to push themselves artistically, and each year they surprise us with their creativity and adaptability within the projects. Although we begin with a plan and vision, the students' enthusiasm and creativity will determine the overall look of the mural. The success of the installation rests mainly on the fifth, fourth, and third graders, with their effort, cooperation, creativity and enthusiasm, they carry the project toward completion. The lower grades are responsible for the details; each student’s part is essential and without full involvement the finished artwork would be lacking in the completed project's success,” says ArtsBank instructor Kylie Proudfoot-Payne. Once the mural is completed it is an exhibit in and of itself. Highlighted in a well-used hallway on the way to the gymnasium and music classrooms, the installation is available for reflection, critique and display.

This year’s Coalton ArtsBank teaching artists were, Kylie Proudfoot-Payne and Charlita Atha

Funding for this year’s installation at Coalton Elementary School was provided by the Snowshoe Foundation.

ArtsBank Inc. is also funded and supported by The West Virginia Department of Arts Culture and History through the Arts in Education Grant.

"And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul."

John Muir