During Art Feeds classes the week of March 31 to April 4, students “rebuilt” Moore. Volunteer instructors encouraged students, grades pre-kindergarten to sixth grade, to imagine the types of buildings they’d like to see built in place of locations destroyed in the tornado.
With cardboard boxes, colorful craft paper, markers and glue in hand, students created everything from the practical to the wacky.
Martinez’s student Brooklyn Haywood, 10, bounced from side to side at her desk on Friday as she looked over a previous sketch she had created of a “kids only tower.” Her desk was littered with an assortment of craft goods as she readied to build her whimsical building, which would eventually include a rock climbing wall, slides, swimming and more.
“It’s fun and we get to do creative stuff I probably wouldn’t do,” she said, never letting her eyes leave her work.
Once completed, Haywood’s structure joined the creations of students school-wide in a cardboard city assembled in the front entryway. The new city featured several hospitals, a red barn, a dog house, homes, a “SpongeBob store,” basketball court, pharmacy, hotels, restaurants and more.
Perhaps the most significant of them all: A new school emblazoned with the words “The tornado took my school! But will never take our Panther Pride! Roar!”
Since the beginning of the year, Fowler said the school has been working with students in classes, groups and one-on-one on different coping mechanisms for dealing with trauma and anxiety. Art Feeds has become another positive avenue for every child to express emotions connected to tornado-related trauma, she said.
Since the Art Feeds program began, Fowler said she has noticed students drawing less and less tornadoes — something she sees as marked progress.
The program was facilitated and operated in the schools free of cost by Art Feeds and volunteers. Fowler said she loved how self-sufficient the program was, requiring very little effort from school personnel.
For more information on Art Feeds, visit artfeeds.org.