In the fall of 2018, Buckeye Valley elementary art teacher Jennifer Lawrence received a $1,788 grant from the Delaware Arts Festival to create a painted rock display to add to the landscaping at the new Buckeye Valley West Elementary building in Bellepoint.
“We found out in February that we got the grant,” Lawrence said. “We’ve been very fortunate, because this is the third grant that our school has received.”
Before moving to the new building, Lawrence said the school received a grant for a bottle cap art project and tile art project to beautify the old school building.
“I would be on recess duty and notice that the school, in general, needed beautifying in some way,” she said. “I knew we were going to have a fresh canvas to work with at the new school, and I knew we would want to have some kind of project where we could start beautifying the grounds.”
Lawrence decided to base the rock garden project on Linda Kranz’s book, “Only One You.” She also incorporated the unique statement of “I’m going to make the world a better place by?”
“Every student in every grade — kindergarten through the fifth grade — is painting a rock,” she said. “I’d seen how other art teachers had done this type of project before. The book teaches about a person having good character.”
While teaching a class of fourth graders, Lawrence talked about there being a time and place for everything. She also talked about “there is a time and place that I can stand out and I can do what I want to do and be who I am.”
Lawrence said the rock garden will line both sides of the sidewalk of the main entrance “where it will probably be difficult to grow grass anyway.”
“It’s going to look like a stream in a way,” she said. “It’s going to have a lot of movement in it. The idea is we’ll put pea gravel on the bottom and the rocks will sit on top. It will line both sides of the sidewalk. It’ll be perfect.”
Lawrence said the art project is a schoolwide project that involves not only all the students, but also the teachers and maybe even a few parents.
“We’re going to have a committee that is going to work together to put the rock part together,” she said. “There are a lot of teachers interested so that it’s not just in the art room.”
For now, it’s all on Lawrence’s and the students’ plate.
Anxious to start the project, Lawrence said she began buying supplies at the beginning of the school year. She said the grant from the Delaware Arts Festival has been a “real gamechanger,” because the project wouldn’t be possible without it.
“They are very generous with their donation amounts,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to do it if we didn’t have those monies. My budget each year goes to all of the consumables like glue sticks and the things I have to use in the classroom. I can’t go out and buy big beautiful barrels, rocks, and the amount of paint that I need to make this happen.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.