The South Arkansas Arts Center will host an artists’ reception to honor the Washington Middle School students and teachers from the 5th and 6th grade studio art classes as they present “A Lifetime of Wonder” in the SAAC Lobby Gallery on May 15 from 5:30-7:30pm. The exhibit will be available for viewing May 14-18. This exhibition highlights a selection of their work that was created in conjunction with WMS’s production of “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr.”, which will run May 11-12 at EHS Auditorium. Select pieces from the production will be included in a silent auction at SAAC, with all proceeds going to Washington Middle School.

Artists in Education Maria and Jorge Villegas collaborated with Katie Harwell, Washington Middle School art teacher, and her 5th-6th grade studio art class to create nine backdrops, all of the costumes and the props for the WMS production. Over the course of the 9 month residency, Mr. Jorge and Mrs. Maria taught perspective and how to draw woods, animals, and people, as well as pen and ink techniques including crosshatching and painting with colored ink.

Harwell said “The ‘A Lifetime of Wonder’ project has provided our art, music, and drama departments with an exciting new way to integrate literacy. Washington’s fine art classes worked together this year to discover and present the musical ‘Disney’s Alice in Wonderland JR’. They also practiced various literacy skills while discovering the original stories of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’.”

The original Cheshire cat pen and ink illustration of “Alice in Wonderland” and images from Disney’s original release were used as inspiration.

This team has collaborated on past WMS musicals, “Disney’s The Lion King Jr” in 2017, and “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr” in 2018. Both productions were followed by exhibits at SAAC showing a sampling of the studio art students’ work that was used in each play.

The Artists in Education residency is funded through the Arkansas Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with the South Arkansas Arts Center. Additional funding was provided by the El Dorado Education Foundation.