Art kits equip DeSoto Trail students with portability, responsibility

DeSoto Trail fifth grader Victoria Whitney uses supplies from her art bag.

“The start of the 2020-2021 school year has been the most challenging of my teaching career,” admitted Kim Salesses, art teacher at DeSoto Trail Elementary School.

She is a veteran educator with 22 years of experience in the classroom and she has never encountered anything like this. Her number one priority is keeping her students safe as they continue their exploration and study of visual art. 

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To do that, Salesses knew she needed to completely rethink her pre-pandemic classroom culture where students shared supplies with one another, sat at group tables, and circulated though communal art making stations. She envisioned a new classroom culture where students sat at assigned desks and used their own set of art supplies. 

DeSoto Trail art teacher Kim Salesses shows students some of Julie Bowland's artwork in progress in this file photo.

Salesses applied for and received an Arts Education Grant from the Council on Culture & Arts. The grant was made possible this year through philanthropic support from the Duke Energy Foundation’s Powerful Communities program.

With the grant and additional funds she accumulated last year, Salesses purchased enough materials to create 450 individual art supply packets consisting of a large, super durable, zip-top plastic bag, a clipboard, a sketchbook, various types of paper, and an art mantra. 

Angelia S. Rico

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