By JEROD CLAPP
NEW ALBANY — Evoking famous artists such as Norman Rockwell, elementary students in New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated Schools put together their own slice-of-life masterpieces to go down in history.
The New Albany Bicentennial Commission got students across the district involved in its Bicentennial Scrapbook Project. The commission is looking for photos or anything else to include, but students have worked on drawing their favorite memories of the city.
Pat Harrison said the commission made thousands of pages of scrapbook paper available for the public to add their contribution, but she thinks the pictures students draw will show how they feel about the places they live.
“People love kids,” said Harrison who sits on the commission. “They’re so innocent, they’re funny because they haven’t been soured or have any notions of what they do and don’t want to do. I can’t wait to see their drawings because they’re always so cute.”
Harrison worked with Mary Arnold, elementary art coordinator for the school district, to get every student from kindergarten to fourth grade in on the project.
Arnold said students were given some direction, but teachers encourage them to let their imaginations run where they will.
“We just wanted them to make sure they focused on something that was a positive memory of something they did in New Albany,” Arnold said. “We didn’t have a specific idea in mind; we wanted them to come up with their own ideas.”
She said she thinks the drawings will show what was important to this generation while it was young. She said in an age where many kids play video games and watch television, she’s seeing a lot of outdoor activities depicted in the pictures.
“We’re seeing a lot of kids that are drawing pictures of things they like to do with their family, whether it’s going to Zesto’s or playing outside,” Arnold said. “We assumed there would be a lot of video games and TV, but we’re seeing a lot of outdoor activity.”
She said the images should provide a record of some of the places families visit today, even if they disappear over the years or change.
“I think that people enjoy seeing the innocence of kids’ drawing when they’re uninhibited,” Arnold said. “They don’t always look perfect, but the kids can tell you everything that’s going on in the picture. It’s a great way for them to communicate.”
But Harrison said she wants the rest of the community to get involved in the project, too. She said parents or anyone else can pick up materials and information, as well as drop off finished products at Riverview Towers, the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, the Carnegie Center for Art and History or at the Arts Council of Southern Indiana along Market Street.
“It’s something that’s exciting to do and look through one day to see what all we have in there,” Harrison said. “There’s all kinds of ways to do these scrapbooks. Ours may not be as fancy as some, but it’s still going to be a lot fun.”