Local artist brightens learning spaces at Elvin Hill, Wilsonville elementary schools

Published 8:46 am Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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By SASHA JOHNS | Community Columnist

Thanks to recent commissions fulfilled by local artist Trina Miller, two of the Columbiana area elementary schools have started off the year with a splash of extra color that they hope will refresh and inspire their students.

Miller has been creating art her whole life. A graduate of Shelby County High School, she went on to major in Art and minor in Art History at Montevallo. “Creating is a soul level need for me. I don’t function well unless I paint regularly.” As an adult, the art she loves to make has even played a role in how she supports herself. “There were times when it was my sole source of income, but it’s almost always been a source of part-time income for me. It’s the kind of work that allows me to do what I love.”

Her professional reputation made her the go-to artist for both Wilsonville and Elvin Hill Elementary this summer when both schools had big visions for uplifting their students.

Wilsonville Elementary created an exciting new STEM Lab for their students this year. Principal Melody Byrne shared with us that over two years, the school won a grant from the Shelby County Education Foundation, received funding from the local school system as well as Alabama representative Corley Ellis and County Commissioner Kevin Morris, and even won an award as a staff when they had the largest attendance at a local tech conference.

These funds allowed them to update desktops to laptops, purchase coding tech, and much more.

“Trina was the final touch that brought it all together,” Byrne said.

When the Vignette Club, a local federated women’s club in Columbiana, approached the school about how they could help the school this year, it was their donation that allowed the school to commission Trina Miller to make it more than just a tech space.

“Trina took it from STEM to STEAM,” Byrne said. “She listened to our ideas and then really took it to the next level with her vision and design.”

Miller created large canvases that spelled out STEM and were painted in a way that went along with the robot theme that complimented the school’s new robot coding tech. The bright space has been turned into an exciting environment that catches the students’ eyes and hopefully inspires them to be creative in their studies.

Courtney Madison, principal at EHES, told us that Miller’s artwork brought to life the ideas they’d chosen to lift up their students from Lebron James’ book “I Promise.”

Miller painted large colorful murals throughout the school that used these themes from his message.  “The book teaches values we want to instill in our students each day while making those values relatable and fun,” Madison shared. “We hope the students will see the art as a daily reminder to be the best version of themselves that they can possibly be.”  She went on to share that funds provided by their PTO and Corley Ellis helped provide for the commission.

To find out more about Trina Miller and her art, you can visit her page, Color Outside the Lines, on Facebook.