Newnan Cargill celebrates ‘Off the Wall’ art program
Cargill celebrated its 11th Off the Wall art program in Coweta County this month, with a reception for 12 Newnan High School artists whose paintings and drawings will hang at the Newnan plant for the next year.
The student artists’ portraits, landscapes, still-lifes and paintings of animals were framed by Cargill and will hang in its business offices for the next year. The loaned canvases include at least one cow, appropriate for the Newnan plant, a consumer package meat facility.
In return for the donation of art, the Newnan High School art program received a donation of $1,200.
Cargill’s “Off the Wall” art program began in 2004, in conjunction with the opening of Coweta’s Centre for Performing and Visual Arts. Cargill’s Brad Down and the Coweta school system began the program, which is designed to support and promote artistic achievements of local students, encouraging artistic expression and skill development.
Each year, students produce art at school, following curriculum guidelines. A jury of teachers compiles works with varied themes from each class and presents them to Cargill representatives, who make the final 12 selections. Cargill frames the selections and displays them in its facility throughout the year. The art is also used in the Newnan plant’s community cards and communications.
At the next annual show, Cargill returns the framed artwork to the students to enjoy in their own homes. Cargill has featured over 100 student artists through the program over the years, making donations to several local art programs.
This year’s selected artists included Newnan High students Brandon Wenner, Hannah Poore, Brittany Rosser, Kaitleen Brown, Elizabeth Clark, Kerrie Head, Emma Norris, Nick Wells, George Willis, Olivia Wright, Hannah Hudson, and Trevor Roberts.
School students and families are then invited to attend a celebration during which Brad Down and Cargill employees thank the student’s for their contributions.
Many of the parents were as excited as the students. “It’s a good way for us to support the arts in schools, and a great way for us to showcase our community’s talent to our employees and visitors,” said Down. “Our plant has many visitors from the community, the nation and from around the world. When they tour the facility, they enjoy the art displays in the hallways and always express an appreciation for the remarkable talent in our community.”
“The most exciting part of this program is when students, their families and teachers attend the reception,” said Down. “It turns us into a venue for families to view student’s art and provide artists with exposure within our community. It’s probably the most exciting part for us because we get to put a name and face and story. It changes this from being art on a wall to being personal with these students and their families.”