Jasmin Preator

Powell High School art students work together on the space tractor in the PHS art room.

When you walk into a typical art classroom, students are often working on their own projects. Some have earbuds in or are softly talking to a friend while spending time on a painting, drawing or scratch board. These projects are individual. 

But in Powell High School art room you see something completely different. 

Talking, cheering, a saw screaming as it cuts through wood, someone shouting “Gilman,” the aroma of paint in the air and saw dust settling on students’ heads. To most teachers this is a disaster, but to Mr. Jim Gilman, this is just another day in the classroom he loves. Kids are working, laughing and talking to one another. 

“This is my favorite class [because] I can be myself and just have a fun time,” junior Zoie Gaisford said.

In an art classroom there are different stages students go through. Some are at the beginning,  still figuring out what they are good at. Then there are others who know what their flaws are and what their strong medium is. 

Around Powell High School, projects completed in years past hang in the hallways. The pieces are a result of hard work on the part of the students. They have to learn to work with one another. They have to learn to communicate and speak their minds and ideas. They have to come up with the projects, draw up the plans and form the details.

The pieces are a result of hard work on the part of the students.”

— Jasmin Preator

In every project there are leaders — those select few whom others look up to and learn from. These students might be called the “go-to’s”or the “A Team.” 

“I personally wouldn’t call them my go-to’s, rather my leaders,” Mr. Gilman said. “Now some [years] I choose to be the head of the projects; [sometimes] others will come to me and say that they are a leader this year … they are going to be the voice of this part of the project.

“These projects are huge and create great pride as a teacher and creates pride for the students as well. Some students have been taking my class for four years, others walk in and find a place in these projects. Everyone has something to offer and I want to show it.”  

One student in particular who falls into this category said she is involved on several levels.

“I usually do the mural painting on the big projects,” junior Madison Lowery said. “I am one of the first people that starts the painting and am one of the last to stop painting.

“Gilman will have me show the younger students how to set up air brushes or mix colors. I do enjoy it, but at times I like to work on my own projects now and then.” 

Students who work on these big projects help get more students involved with the art program. They try and go above and beyond as a team to push the limits, and see how much they can truly accomplish.

“As I am working on the murals, I will be painting the clouds or the sky mostly,” junior Emery Terry said, “I will hear Gilman below me talking to someone telling them to watch what I am doing. He will have anyone who is new to painting murals or clouds watch what I am doing so that they can learn.”