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Elementary students’ artwork being featured in Demopolis storefronts

Artwork made by Westside Elementary School second-graders is currently displayed in the windows of three empty storefronts in downtown Demopolis near the chamber of commerce building. The art is from the schoolwide “Leader in Me” program, which promotes community service, leadership and good citizenship.

“We’re all about servicing community projects, and this is a good thing for ‘Leader in Me,’” said Elizabeth Renner, who teaches second grade at Westside.

Amanda Barnes, executive director of the Demopolis City Schools Foundation, wanted to give the downtown area a boost and increase foot traffic from parents and community members who come to view the art and support the schools.

“We had some empty buildings that looked like a good blank canvas for art, and I just thought that would be a great way to involve our schools in the revitalization of the downtown,” she said.

She contacted Public Works Superintendent Barbara Blevins and then Renner who suggested that the art from “Leader in Me” be reused.

Barnes said that the display will help the downtown area “look its best” for Rooster Day and give children a chance to see their art exhibited.

The art includes students sharing what they want to be when they grow up or their thoughts on patriotism.

“I think it’s great for the students to see that the community really cares about what they think and what they want to do. We have a wonderful school system that is supported by the community, but I think it would be fabulous to have a child see an adult reading what they thought and maybe having a conversation with them about that,” Barnes said.

Barnes plans to display new art every three months coinciding with the new season, including a special Christmas on the River display. She also said that she would like to include even more students in future displays.

“There’s a lot of space downtown. I hope to get every school involved.”

Barnes said that she hopes to eventually fill all of the empty storefronts with art and generate interest about possible business opportunities.

“I think it would be fun for people to come down and imagine what those can be,” she said.

Businesses who are interested in having art displayed in their storefront can call Barnes at 334-289-2226.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, March 31 issue of the Demopolis Times.)