Wind farm donates $4 thousand to BHS Art Department

by Charles Gerian

A wind energy company donated $4,000 to the Blackwell High School Art Department after student artists created work to be displayed in the company’s offices.

Blackwell High School studio art class students in the 2020-2021 school year were asked to create a series of commission pieces for EDF Rock Falls Wind Farm to provide their offices with some artwork. Last year’s senior art students – Drew Dollarhide, Emmaleigh Scism, Megan Holden, Samara Mitchell and Shannon Johnson – were the artists that took on the challenge.

The company donated money to the program as a result of their work. Students were given creative license in making their art, with the only requirement being that they must include a windmill used by the company. Travis Couch with Rock Falls was the art department’s contact for the project.

Couch said he was impressed by the work and was excited to get the pieces displayed. He told high school art instructor Ashley Heitschmidt, “You have some serious talent in your class.” So far, the art class has been able to use a portion of the money to upgrade technology in the art room by purchasing a Smart TV, which allows artwork to be viewed in ultra-high-definition and true color modes.

Students can now view lecture information without turning lights off in the room, as was required by the digital projector used previously.

The new technology also has Bluetooth-casting capabilities so that Heitschmidt may use a tablet-to-TV approach and move about the room while teaching.

It also allows for digital drawing onto the tablet, which shows up live on the screen. Couch stopped by the classroom last week to see the investment the company made last year, and to visit with the students about what employment in the wind energy industry might look like. “

The BHS Art Department is thankful for the contribution and support by EDF Rock Falls and look forward to future collaborations,” Heitschmidt said.