Sikorsky supports fine arts programs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Features Editor

If a major company had not already adopted the slogan, "Like a good neighbor" Sikorsky Support Services, Inc. would certainly be deserving of having it as their own.

SSSI has developed strong ties with the Troy and Pike County communities through its support of a variety of events and programs.

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Perhaps, none is more important than the partnership it has formed with the Pike County School System and Troy State University to bring fine arts opportunities to the county’s elementary school students.

Representatives from SSSI were at Troy State University Monday to present a check in the amount of $3,500 in support of the fine arts partnership.

Dr. David Dye, professor of speech and theater,

said each year the partnership provides opportunities in theater, music and dance to an under-served student population. Now, with the assistance of the recent donation from SSSI, visual arts will be added to the partnership program this year.

County students in grades four and five will have art introduced into their curriculum and they will be involved in creating a 40-foot panel using three primary colors, said Jerry Johnson, chairman of the art department at Troy State University. The students will be introduced to "action" painters, such as Jackson Pollock and have opportunities to watch videos of his in action as he drips paint on canvas.

"The work will be fast and furious," Johnson said. "We will have large groups working at a time on a huge ‘floppy’ canvas that will allow them to actually push paint around," Johnson said, adding he is not sure whether the giant panel will be a vertical or horizontal work of art.

The final hanging of the panel will be in a hangar at SSSI of Troy so, that space or place will determine how the canvas is painted.

"We would like for the panel to be shown locally and, maybe, hang at the state capitol a week or so before it is hung as Sikorsky," Johnson said.

Larry Percy, coordinator of art education at TSU, said the students will be asked to write poems about their experiences working on the panel as a post-writing component to the project.

The project will involved college students working closely with the young artists and that, Percy said, will be beneficial to university students who are pursuing degrees in art education.

Dye said the partnership involving the Pike County Schools, TSU and SSSI has "snowballed" the fine arts opportunities for hundreds of students and it continues to grow.

"The fine arts program has been expanded to include the Troy City Schools through the support of the Troy Arts Council," he said. "We appreciate all the Sikorsky Support Services does to provide enrichment activities and programs in our schools. I hope they know that they are making a difference in the county schools. The dollars they spend are having a positive impact on our young students."