The art program has been an integral part of a child’s education at Bright since the school’s founding in 1913. Thankful Davis, who joined the Bright faculty in 2014, teaches art to grades PK-5. “I want my students to have fun creating and visually solving problems,” she says. “I hope that through art they see themselves as artists, creators, problem solvers, makers, designers, and producers.”
For the youngest students, art is a new place to grow and develop. “Many of the projects in PK and kindergarten are built to help students develop better motor processing. These skills like bilateral integration and activities that encourage using both sides of their bodies during art classes not only help students to become better artists but help students to become better readers and writers,” Mrs. Davis says.
In grades first through fifth, students go on field trips to the Hunter Museum of American Art, Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden and the High Museum of Art. These trips enhance what students are learning in art and help students learn about museum etiquette and appreciate the artworks on display. There are other opportunities for smaller groups of students to take part in community events such as helping paint the blue trees in the environmental art installation. Finally, students display works of art in various exhibits in town.
Students in all grades enjoy making art projects as part of the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, which is a joint activity that day with art and Spanish. And generations of students have looked forward to their chance to paint the school windows with holiday scenes before the Christmas break.
Overall, Mrs. Davis, who recently earned her master’s in education, has been teaching for 12 years. Before Bright, she taught at Ivy Academy, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy and Howard School, and she created and taught an art course for Hamilton County public schools that was hosted at the Hunter.
Mrs. Davis sees the school through the lenses of a faculty member and parent. Her son is a current student, and her daughter recently graduated. “I think the level of professional dedication among our teachers and staff is one of the jewels of the Bright experience. Our teachers are so thoughtful in the way they conduct each class that I consider myself very blessed to teach with them and especially send my children to their classrooms,” she says.
“I also think one thing that sets our school apart is the unique opportunities that Bright school offers our children. From our robust after-school sports program to the in-school opportunities like Bright Music Day to whole school events like Bright Fit and Bright World.”