Posters For The Shed

A project funded by a Beckley Area Foundation
Full STEAM Ahead Grant Program

Our Posters for the Shed project was a tremendous success thanks to the funding provided by the Full STEAM Ahead grant program from the Beckley Area Foundation. A goal of the Piney Creek Watershed Association is to raise awareness of the need for watershed stewardship among the local community. The Posters for the Shed project was a great example of how the arts can be integrated into the realm of science and the environment to have an impact on the student’s and communities’ perception of stream quality and watershed issues.

In-class presentations about stream quality and environmental stewardship were given to over 300 students in the art classes at Woodrow Wilson, Shady Spring, and Liberty High Schools in early March. PowerPoint slides and actual stream trash were used to demonstrate various forms of pollution from litter and motor oils to pet waste and sediment. A simulated watershed demonstration illustrated how materials discarded on our streets, yards, and parking lots can be washed into our streams to become non-point pollution problems. Simple steps that citizens can do on an everyday basis to safeguard our streams were stressed. Following the presentations, students were invited to create 2D poster projects to illustrate the problems and solutions to non-point pollution. The theme for the contest was ‘Clean Streams Everyday’ with a focus on everyday activities that can affect stream quality. Grant money ($200 for each art teacher) was passed along to the schools to offset the cost of art materials for the projects. Grant money was also used to sponsor a county-wide poster show with numerous prizes to encourage students’ participation. Funds were also used to professionally print selected posters as well as support overall coordination of the project.
Seventy students created posters for the contest and show that was held at the Beckley Newspapers office and was open to public viewing from April 29 through May 9. The posters demonstrated the incredible creativity and talent of our local students as well as their ability to convey a message through their work. Two local art professionals and a school board member served as judges for the contest. A reception was held on May 9 to recognize all of the students’ works and to distribute awards to the winning students. First through fourth place and five honorable mention works were awarded ribbons and gift certificates for art supplies.

In addition to the timely publicity for the contest that appeared in the local paper, some of the best art projects were printed in the form of postcards and folded cards that will be used by Piney Creek to contact association members, announce meetings, and use as thank-you notes etc. In this way, the students’ works will continue to inspire community members about the need for everyone to be involved in caring for our environment. In addition, these products are excellent examples of how the arts can be a critical component of education campaigns that raise awareness of environmental and other issues.

Our Posters for the Shed contest successfully integrated the arts into the sciences and thereby fulfilled the goals of the Full STEAM Ahead program. It is our hope that the opportunity to present science issues to the students and their integration of these concepts into their artistic works will go a long way to cementing the concepts of environmental stewardship in these individuals.In addition, the student’s creativity impacted those who viewed the art show and will continue to promote environmental stewardship through the printed material that Piney Creek Watershed Association will distribute in the future. View all of the poster entries in the accompanying video.