Linda Nolen Learning Center student Case Rush, lower right, works with his aide Deborah Holder, to create a coffee filter butterfly at the school's Art from the Heart day on Oct. 9. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)
Linda Nolen Learning Center student Case Rush, lower right, works with his aide, Deborah Holder, to create a coffee filter butterfly at the school's Art from the Heart day on Oct. 9. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Archived Story

Special-needs kids create art from the heart

Published 12:04pm Wednesday, October 9, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

When visitors walk in to the Linda Nolen Learning Center in Pelham, they frequently ask from which local art gallery the school purchased the artwork lining the school’s lobby and hallways.

“People will always say ‘These paintings are great. Where did you get them?’” said LNLC Assistant Principal Todd Crenshaw. “They look like pieces you could purchase from an art gallery.”

The artwork displayed in the school is LNLC student-created, and school leaders will have a fresh batch of pieces to proudly display after the LNLC’s annual Art from the Heart event on Oct. 9.

Throughout the day, the Linda Nolen students – all of whom have significant special needs – created colorful pieces such as painted tree segments, pasta necklaces and paintings completed with everything from brushes to the tires of small toy trucks.

“Oh, he loves it,” said LNLC aide Deborah Holder as she helped school student Case Rush complete his pasta necklace on the school’s playground. “I think he enjoys the social aspect of it the most.”

Rush, who uses a wheelchair for mobility, frequently had a smile on his face as he created his pasta necklace and an Auburn-themed butterfly made from a coffee filter.

In addition to the plethora of art stations, the Art from the Heart event also featured a cookout and a live band playing while nearby students filled the air with soap bubbles.

“We had the preschool kids out here a minute ago, and they kept saying ‘This is the best day ever,’” Valley Intermediate School teacher Sherri Campbell, who volunteered to help with the event, said as she prepared for the next group of students at an outdoor painting station. “By the end of the day, we will have a lot of artwork to display.”

Crenshaw said the art stations allowed the students to express themselves in a visual manner.

“After the kids are done, they will tell you what they were thinking when they were painting. You can see that in their paintings,” Crenshaw said. “They take a lot of pride in it.”

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