As a part of the Forgotten Coast en Plein Air event this year, 21 students from Franklin and Gulf and county schools painted with nationally known plein air artists.

This year Student Art Day was held Wednesday, May 9 at the Mill Pond pavilion at the Scipio Creek working harbor in Apalachicola.

Students are paired with an artist in their preferred medium (oil painting or watercolor) and spend several hours learning from and painting with the artists. Their paintings are framed while wet, and hung in the Plein Air wet room at The Joe Center for the Arts, in Port St. Joe, until the end of the event.

“Kids are intimidated by art. They think it has to be perfect,“ said Brant Banks, a middle school teacher at the Apalachicola Bay Charter School. “Working with plein air artists opens a new door for them that they have this unique talent, they’re capable of creating art.

“The plein air artists are very patient and work well with the kids. It’s good for them to work with someone who actually makes a living doing art,” he said.

Karyl Gavigan, a middle and high school teacher at Franklin County Schools, tells her students about the event at the beginning of the school year and uses it as an incentive because she can only take five students.

“I want them to be able to express themselves,” said Gavigan. “Art helps them communicate with people outside of their own little world, to look at things from a different light.”

Students by school were:


Alisha Arroyo, Mahaley Shuler, and Leah Wren, seventh graders from Apalachicola Bay Charter School.
Steven Smith and Branden Osborn from ED Corps, Apalachicola.
Audrianna Penamon, Madison Burt, Faith Cooper, Hannah Westbrook and Maggie Miller from Franklin County High School.
Theresa Butler, from First Baptist Christian School, Apalachicola.
Adria Valenzuela and Hailey Gay, Apalachicola students attending Port St. Joe High School.
Madi Falls, Brooke Hysmith, Dominica Dennis, and Amber Runyan from Wewahitchka High School.
Adria Valenzuela, Carley Fortner, Marcella Phelps, Hailey Gay, and Ana Lacivita from Port St. Joe High School.

Forgotten Coast en Plein Air has completed for 2018, but is schedule for May 3 - 12, 2019.