Large-scale art project to build mobile art lab


Students from Thomas Jefferson Middle School watch at Belair Elementary School as Jesse McAfee makes a print from some of the students’ etchings Friday morning. Along with the art class from Thomas Jefferson, students from several elementary schools will decorate a cardboard cargo truck in a collaborative effort.

Students from Thomas Jefferson Middle School watch at Belair Elementary School as Jesse McAfee makes a print from some of the students’ etchings Friday morning. Along with the art class from Thomas Jefferson, students from several elementary schools will decorate a cardboard cargo truck in a collaborative effort. Photo by Julie Smith.

Early Friday morning, Elina Sarecha, a fourth-grade Belair Elementary student, was thrilled to be at school. As a member of the school’s art club, she had arrived early to help her teacher set up the gymnasium for the big cooperative art project the district is undertaking this fall.

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Robert Muir, a student from Thomas Jefferson Middle School, was at Belair Elementary School to work on the Mideast Meets Midwest project. Muir is etching on a piece of thin styrofoam in a process called intaglio or low relief.

Called “Cargo Truck: Mideast Meets Midwest,” the program is a collaboration between several Kansas City professional artists and Atelier CMS Inc., a not-for-profit visual arts program based in Jefferson City. Atelier is the group that organizes “Art Inside the Park,” an initiative to boost education and awareness of public art.

As part of the “Cargo Truck” project, artists will be converting a 1952 Chevrolet grain truck into an ornately decorated cargo truck, like the ones common to Pakistan. Once finished, the truck — stocked with useful large-scale art supplies — will be used as a mobile art laboratory.

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