By Lisa Brones Huber, Government and Community Relations Manager at Duke Energy Corporation

The power of the arts is exhibited in many ways. Recently young artists at Mt. Tabor Elementary School in New Albany impressed Duke Energy volunteers with their creative works of art.

One of the ways Duke Energy gives back to the community is through employees volunteering their time and their talents.   I had the privilege, along with other Duke Energy employees from the Clarksville office, to help first-, third- and fourth-graders put finishing touches on wooden sculptures they created of endangered animals. Teaching artist Janet Britt with Louisville Visual Art was on hand to assist.    The three-day workshop was part of the 5×5 program, which provides elementary students with a continuum of arts and cultural experiences, funded through a Duke Energy Foundation grant to the Fund for the Arts. For me and my Duke Energy co-workers, it was exciting to see our funding in action, which combined several of Duke Energy’s funding priorities, including arts and culture, science and the environment.

We were energized by talents displayed in the bright beautiful works of art.  It’s no surprise the Mt. Tabor Tigers painted a few tigers. Many painted realistic representations of endangered animals from elephants to eagles and lions to lemurs. It was fascinating to see students’ reflections in their sculptures. One little boy painted glasses on his gorilla’s face, just like the ones he was wearing.

Ms. Britt asked students, “Who’s the boss of your art?” She told them, “You are the boss of your art, and you can do whatever you want with it.” The kids smiled and were beaming with pride admiring their hard work–drawing animals, sanding sculptures and painting details like fins and feathers and spots and stripes. Hopefully students will share the lessons learned about endangered animals with their families. When they look at their sculptures at home, they will remember the amazing experience they shared with an artist in their classroom. It was a fun experience that all of us volunteers will remember.

Thanks to Mt. Tabor Elementary School for letting us work with their students and to the Fund for the Arts for bringing the power of the arts to 2,900 elementary school students in New Albany Floyd County Schools and Greater Clark County Schools through the 5×5 programs funded by a Duke Energy Foundation grant.

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