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Stillwater’s Lincoln Academy partners with Prairie Arts Center

(Stillwater, Oklahoma, April 8, 2024) - Lincoln Academy students have been creating art at Stillwater’s Prairie Arts Center this semester. 

The 80 students at Lincoln Academy don’t always have easy access to creative outlets, so Lincoln teacher Shandi Treat and Principal George Horton set work on an application for a Stillwater Public Education Foundation grant. They along with Lincoln teacher Aaron Frisby met with the nearby Prairie Arts Center Arts Education Coordinator Jen Johnson.

Prairie Arts’ status as a community arts center, made possible by a partnership between OSU and the City of Stillwater, made it a logical candidate for a partnership with the school. The center’s multimedia capabilities, including metalsmithing and jewelry, fiber art, drawing classes, photography, could allow students a sampling of not only creative arts but also skills for potential employment.

“We talked about what we envisioned for the program,” says Treat, who’s been providing some art instruction in her Lincoln classroom. “We wanted to make sure we were providing access to things that we can’t get or do at Lincoln, like ceramics, since we don’t have a kiln and printmaking.”

“Once we had a vision, they started planning classes and we worked to secure the funding for the materials and instructors,” says Treat.

Treat says not every student can participate in every activity. “We wanted to make sure we could bring as many students as possible to participate in at least one activity.” 

“We started with ceramic,” says Prairie Arts Center Art Education Coordinator Jen Johnson, “then acrylic painting, conceptual art, that’s artwork whose primary concern is ideas, installation, and curatorial practices and screenprinting.”

“The students have loved it,” Treat says. “They enjoy that it gives them a creative outlet, and we had a lot of students participate. Prairie Arts would provide us with a number based on materials and size, eight students for ceramics, twelve for acrylic for instance, and with two classes per medium.” 

Treat says she appreciates the support of SPEF. “It’s good for our students to see that our community has the Prairie Arts Center and that this is something they can continue.”

Johnson says students interested in further arts exploration have a wide range of classes and camps they consider.  “We have summer camps and classes for kids six to fourteen and several classes throughout the year for ages 15 and up. 

A group exhibition of Lincoln students’ installation artwork at the Prairie Arts Center coincides with the Stillwater Festival of the Arts, April 19-20.