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Corps Fosters Fine Art In Oakdale Schools
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Hundreds of art pieces fill the Oakdale FES Hall for attendees of the annual Fair Oaks Art Show. Both Fair Oaks and Cloverland host the Art Corps program, which is funded directly by their Parent Teacher clubs. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

The final piece has been hung, as children throughout Oakdale Joint Unified District will rise this week in anticipation of their work being seen.

Today, Wednesday, May 11 and tomorrow, Thursday, May 12, Cloverland Elementary School will present its 12th Annual Art Show. The show will be open to the community from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. Fair Oaks will also host an Art Show at its campus as well, with the Fair Oaks show slated from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11; 8:30 a.m. to noon on May 12; and then again from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 12, during the school’s Open House. The Fair Oaks show will be set up in the FES Hall on North Lee, directly across from the school campus.

Both shows are presented through the Art Corps program, which both elementary campuses participate in.

“We are the only two schools outside of the San Diego area to have this program,” Art Corps Director Kyle Richardson said of the unique program. “When Kim Manley moved up from San Diego she worked tirelessly to get this program up here.”

The Cloverland mom’s efforts paid off and the Art Corps program has been a piece of the school site’s curriculum ever since.

Art Corps is a program based on the principles of art. Through the program students of all grade levels learn about line, shape, value, space, color, texture and composition. Both programs are funded by the Parent Teacher Clubs at the respective campuses.

“That’s the big reason I started,” Richardson said of her early involvement. “It’s because it impacts every student. They have eight lessons per year and one piece featured in the Art Show. What I like is that they learn all the concepts of art.”

“The District doesn’t pay for the program,” longtime workshop leader Tina Lane said, with the PTCs contributing to keep it going.

Lane first joined the program when her daughters attended Cloverland as students. Both Lane and Richardson have been with the program since its inception 12 years ago.

“It’s not an arts and crafts program,” Lane added. “It’s a fine arts program, exposing the students to famous artists and prints.

“It allows every child to be successful,” Lane said of the nurturing and encouraging environment. “These programs carry over. I’ve seen it first hand with my own children from Junior High to High School.”

In addition to the Art Corps Director and Workshop Leaders, the program is made possible due to parent volunteers. The volunteers must take the time to attend workshops to either learn the lesson to be taught, attend the lessons as an aide or sometimes both.

Each campus has a PTC member who serves as an On Site Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator and a Supply Coordinator.

“It’s a very structured program,” Richardson said. “You have to have really strong people and use the tools.”

“It’s nice to see the excitement in there each time we walk in,” Clare Raggio said of the students. “They get excited and you’ll hear them say, is it Art Corps Day?”

Regardless of tenure, the group shared the Art Show is indeed the most work, yet the most rewarding as each students’ portfolio from the year is reviewed and one piece is selected to be displayed at the show. As a school wide program, this is a task which includes hundreds of art pieces to be tagged and properly hung for display.

“The kids’ joy,” Richardson noted as one of the biggest rewards for the program. “The fact that it touches every student. Kids don’t get art anymore and what a blessing that we can bring this to them.”