Students across Lauderdale County are busy this week putting finishing touches on their entries for the school district’s eighth annual special education art show this weekend.
Fifty-nine students from throughout Lauderdale County schools will participate in the show with their paintings on display at Regency Square Mall from Feb. 1-Feb. 15. Winners will be announced Feb. 16.
A panel of judges will determine the winner, awarding Best of Show to the overall winning piece. There also will be a People’s Choice award, which will be decided by the voting public.
Last year, 650 votes were cast in the People’s Choice category, according to art teacher Sonya Skipworth.
“This show is about showing the public what we see every day, what these students can do instead of any limitations they may have,” Skipworth said. “The interest in this show has grown phenomenally. And, it’s competitive. These students have worked hard, and they want to win.”
For the past three years, Brooks High School student Evan Threet has won Best of Show.
This year, Tim “Tater” Scott is out to take the title with his landscape painting of a tree-lined lake with nature’s reflections on the water. In the corner of the painting is a University of Alabama trademark “A,” reflective of Scott’s passion for the school’s athletics.
“I was second last year, and I don’t want to be second again,” Scott said. “I took a picture off my cellphone and painted it.”
Scott said he enjoys art and has worked on his painting since the fall. Also an athlete, Scott said he can’t help but be competitive, even with his art.
“I want to win first place and stay there until I graduate,” he said.
His 11 classmates also have been working on their paintings since mid-October. Michaela Pruitt painted a skyscraper in a line of buildings. A music lover, she said a song about a skyscraper inspired her painting.
“I got a first place ribbon last year,” Pruitt said. “I really like this painting. It may win.”
Student Austin Dodd painted geometric shapes in crimson and gray with an Alabama “A” inside one of the shapes.
“We were supposed to paint what we love, and I love Alabama,” Dodd said.
Leanna Rhodes, Wilson’s special education teacher, said her students have taken their art projects seriously, looking forward to showcasing their talents, especially Scott.
“He’s a leader in my class, always reliable and responsible,” Rhodes said. “He has made sure that everyone has stayed on track with their art projects since they started in the fall. It’s an exciting time for these students.”
Skipworth said the show has grown not only in size, but in importance.
“This has really opened doors for these students, and it has become a much-anticipated yearly event,” she said. “To see their work is really heartwarming. When you realize the kind of time and effort they put into their paintings, it really puts life in perspective.”