Posted by: Carly Acree-King on Mar/22/2019

Art Room transformed into print shop 

As the students filed into Mrs. Carol Burt’s art room at East Washington Academy, they couldn’t keep their eyes off the six printmaking stations set up at the back of the room. Each station included a gel printing plate, stencils, acrylic paints, and a brayer. Mrs. Burt’s classroom was transformed into a printmaking studio with the support of a $450 grant from the Robert P. Bell Education Grant Program at The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Inc.

“Who has their paint shirts?” Mrs. Burt asked as the class took their seats. Hands shot up. Students were eager to begin exploring the printmaking stations. Six students took their turn at the printmaking stations. Mrs. Burt instructed the students who were not printmaking to begin their drawing assignment. Later during the school year, the drawings will be used to create borders for the artwork that the school will display during the All City Art Show at the Muncie Mall.

Before creating their designs, students carefully wrote their names on the white sheets of paper that would soon be filled with prints. Using only pea-size drops of paints, students began mixing and creating colors on their printing plates. “Mine looks like a sunset,” shrieked one student as she used her brayer to mix together red, pink, and yellow. A long, drawn-out “whoa” came from another student as he peeled back his print from the plate, exposing the transfer of his blue and green paint and the outline of a frog stencil.

Mrs. Burt traveled from station to station answering questions, offering advice, and marveling at her students’ work. She encouraged her students to use some of the recycled materials available in their prints. The recycled materials included egg cartons and paper towel roll, which were thoughtfully selected for the project so that they could be used over and over by students.

Over the past 17 years, Mrs. Burt has applied for and received eight Bell Grants, totaling more than $2,600. “As a teacher, my greatest resources have been the Bell Grant Program and Back to School Teachers Store,” she shared. “Without both of those opportunities, my life as a teacher would be a lot different.” 

Since the Robert P. Bell Education Grant Program was established in 1992 by the Board of Directors of The Community Foundation, more than $127,000 has been granted to teachers in the Muncie and Delaware County community. Bell Grants provide support for classroom projects that are innovative and creative and designed to stimulate learning. Grants have supported projects in all subjects and grades – ranging from a unit about dinosaurs for a kindergarten physical education class to a 12th-grade lesson on neuroscience. 

“I always tell other teachers that there really is no reason to not try for opportunities like the Bell Grant program,” Mrs. Burt shared. “It just makes the teaching experience a lot different.”

A student uses paint to prepare a transfer in printmaking.