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Debi West (March)West
Hi! I’m Debi West and I’ve been teaching children through the visual arts for 24 years in Gwinnett County Georgia. Art Education is my passion, it’s my hobby and it’s my favorite thing to do. I adore kids, ALL kids, in fact I taught at the elementary level for 14 years opening 3 new schools in the county and starting up new visual art programs that were theme-based in nature. 10 years ago I moved to the secondary level where I am now the Department Chair at North Gwinnett High School and I have the honor of teaching 185 amazing kiddos this year! Click "Go" to read full bio.

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« Youth Art Month - Art at its’ BEST! | Main | Art With Purpose »

March 15, 2017

Youth Art Month in Georgia!

From: Debi West, Ed.S, NBCT 

YAM – It’s beyond fun at this moment and my students are participating in some seriously amazing events including our county Tapestry exhibit which houses the art work of our top art students K-12! Gwinnett County (the largest county in the state) has close to 180,000 students so you can imagine how massive this 3 week exhibit is. There are 3 different series with 6-7 school clusters invited to each series throughout the month. Due to the convention, this is our week and our school has over 300 works exhibited – WOWza!

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Once again, I was reminiscing of days gone by and began thinking of another great year we had in 1999 when Tricia Spencer and I were state YAM co-chairs and our state theme was “Tool Time in Georgia”. At our fall conference we held a fun hands-on YAM JAM workshop where we started building a collaborative mascot that would travel the state and metamorphasize as students of all ages added their marks! This sculpture, aptly named “Arturo the Traveling YAM mascot” left us in February at the state Capitol Art Exhibit where he was unveiled and moved to 16 schools across Georgia! He traveled with a camera, a journal, and a blanket and when he returned to us he barely fit in a convertible car and had a 10 foot wing span! Talk about a powerful YAM event! The journal documented all of the schools he visited and the thousands of students who had the ability to work on him. And that is what I believe Youth Art Month should be about…students working together in the name of art and using the process and the product as an advocacy tool to share with the community, the state, the region and the nation the necessity of a visual art education for ALL LEARNERS! (and by the way, Arturo was then bought by a local folk art gallery where he still resides!)

And now back to my 185 secondary art students and their YAM creations here at North Gwinnett…up next, GREAT YAM activities that my students are currently working on! 

View our YAM 2017 works.

-DW

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