“There is no education without arts education. Somebody competent only in numbers and science is not going to be a success in anything without understanding the human experience we all live day to day in terms of emotion, desires, and ambition.”

Rob Toups
Music Educator/Clinician/Adjudicator

VZ Arts District Education Programs

The programs listed below are made by special arrangement for the students in the Van school district by the VZ Arts & Cultural District Foundation. To schedule a program, find contact information in the VZACD Education & Community Program Guide provided to all teachers and administrators in Van ISD. If you need a new copy or additional information, email info@VanZandtACD.com or call (903) 312-9556.

CULTURAL AWARENESS Cuentos & Carreras Interactive storytelling and career discussions GRADES: 3-8 The Hispanic Professional Association of Tyler presents cultural stories and career opportunities, engaging the students through informal conversation, demonstrations and storytelling, and may demonstrate how programs correlate to geography, historical events, and other academic topics students are learning about in school.
CULTURAL AWARENESS Battle of the Neches Historic Site Field Trip GRADES: 6-12

See Historical Marker sign on Highway 64 close to Redlands. There’s a nice granite marker provided by the State of Texas and other things to see as well including large rocks with the names of each tribe that took part in the battle.

LITERARY ARTS Tom Geddie: Creative Writing
Classes/Workshops
GRADES: 8-12 10 Elements of Creative Expression
GRADES: 1-6: What Happens Next Storytelling 

Tom Geddie is an experienced leader of more than 20 creative writing workshops privately and at Richland College, where students ranked the three-hour sessions an overall 4.8 on a five-point scale for knowledge about the topics, effective methods of instruction, accomplishing clear course objectives, encouraging student involvement, and willingness to work with the instructor again. Tom has self-published 29 books: novels, free verse poetry, short stories, memoirs, and a collection of music columns he wrote for Dallas-based Buddy Magazine and has contributed to County Line Magazine. In the corporate and not-for-profit worlds, Tom won 101 awards for hands-on work on communication programs; measurement; publications; news, feature, series, & interpretive writing; photography; publication design; speech writing; and marketing programs and collateral. As an accredited business communicator, Tom’s clients included Fortune 500 businesses. He also served as president of the Dallas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators and for two years on the organization’s international board of directors.

LITERARY ARTS Northeast Texas Poetry in Schools Contest 2020
Kids Poetry Contest
GRADES: 1-12
DEADLINE: March 1, 2020 
AWARD CEREMONY: April 2020, Region 7 ESC, Kilgore

The contest aims to provide students with the opportunity to express themselves through writing, but also to learn about the art form of poetry and using language to its fullest potential. A panel of judges consisting of local writers and artists select three winning poems from each grade level and the winning students are honored at an awards ceremony and published in the annual Northeast Texas Poetry in Schools Anthology. The first place winner of the 12th grade category receives a $500 college scholarship courtesy of the Rusk County Poetry Society.

LITERARY ARTS County Line Magazine Student Poetry
Poetry Column
GRADES: K-12

Teachers are welcome to submit select poems of students throughout the year for possible inclusion in print or digital publications. A signed Parental Release Form is required. Please submit poems via email to editor@countylinemagazine.com.

MUSIC Meredith Crawford
Singer-songwriter
GRADES: K-12

Meredith Crawford grew up in Chandler. She started singing at the age of 13, first at Tyler’s Green Acres Baptist Church, then she veered towards country music. She sang at a number of oprys: Gladewater Opry, Texarkana Opry, the Cotton Pickin’ Theater in Point, Mount Pleasant Jamboree, Johnnie High’s Country Music Revue in Arlington, and even as far away as the Texas Jamboree in Houston. Today she performs more roots rock and Texas soul. She writes her own songs and some of her covers are real crowd pleasers. She also recently got her Bachelors Degree in Accounting.

MUSIC Heather Little: Singer-Songwriter
Performance, Writing Discussions
GRADES: K-12

Heather Little wrote a poem and won a contest when she was in the 4th grade and she’s been writing ever since. She was born in north-central Texas and grew up around Austin and Dallas in thriving music scenes. She now lives in Lindale. Heather is the co-writer of “Gunpowder and Lead” and “Me and Charlie Talkin,” both recorded by Miranda Lambert and has written many songs for Nashville notables. Her talents don’t stop with songwriting — hear her sing once and you’ll want to hear much more. Heather interacts well with students, telling her stories, singing her songs, talking about the writing process, making for a nice classroom activity. She is also comfortable in an assembly environment either alone, or she often performs with Meredith Crawford and Wesley Pruitt.

MUSIC Wesley Pruitt: Singer-Songwriter
Performance/Q&A, Musical Instrument Workshop
GRADES: K-12

Wesley Pruitt plays Texas music with soul. He performs his own original songs as well as cover songs from favorite blues, rock and roll, country, and Americana artists. He has shared the stage with Bugs Henderson, Stoney LaRue, and Wade Bowen, and he has enjoyed playing with Jarrod Birmingham, Tutu Jones and other great artists.

MUSIC Gary Swinard Music
Musician, Guitarist, Performance/Q&A
GRADES: K-12

Gary Swinard was born in Ashford Kent England in 1951. His music career spans more than four decades playing guitar, bass and keyboards. At the age of 7 his dad gave him his first acoustic guitar but it wasn’t until he met Dave Trott and Trevor Hills at the age of 11 that he started to learn to play. He moved to Northeast Texas in 2017 bringing his “old time rock and roll” with him. He performs solo and with bands in and area music venues and works with kids at Allaso Ranch at Lake Hawkins.

MUSIC Andie Kay Joyner: Singer-Songwriter
Performance/Q&A, Writing Discussion
GRADES: K-12

Andie Kay Joyner is the lead singer for blacktop GYPSY, a Texas-favorite Americana band. By the time Andie Kay was 10 years old she was singing in public at festivals and oprys throughout Texas. She was enjoying a successful career until she became ill in 2016 and had to have a double transplant — heart and liver —at just 39 years old. Three years later, Andie Kay is back on stage, and doing better than ever. She shares her miraculous story between songs and exemplifies those who don’t let anything stand in the way of following their dreams.

MUSIC Mount Vernon Music
Performance, Demonstrations, Q&A, children’s books
GRADES: K-12

Mount Vernon Music’s resident professional musicians and guest artists perform school programs which are tailored specifically to audience age. The performers engage the students through informal conversation, demonstrations and music, and may demonstrate how programs correlate to geography, historical events, and other academic topics students are learning about in school.

Their 2019-20 school outreach calendar includes a newly commissioned musical story for violin and viola duo, Midnight Adventures (2018) by Fort Worth composer Till MacIvor Meyn – complete with projections of visual art – performed together with Beagles’ Day Out, another violin-viola duo by Benedikt Brydern with rhyming verse and multiple illustrations by Rose Roeder; The Town Musicians, a Musical Adventure, also by Brydern and based on the Grimm’s fairy tale The Bremen Town Musicians, commissioned by Mount Vernon Music in 2014 and scored for flute and string trio with narration, together with digital projections of original illustrations by Madeline Crist; and Villains & Sweethearts by Daniel Kelley, a set of five musical fairy tales for string quartet and narrator.

MUSIC Mount Vernon Music Betty Whitlock Scholarship
ELIGIBILITY: Music students, ages 10 to 18
SCHOLARSHIP AMOUNT: $50-$500
INSTRUMENTATION: Voice, piano, strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion
APPLICATION DEADLINE: February 1, 2020

Provides area students with supplemental funding for their music education through private lessons, music camps, or purchase of performance-grade instruments. Through the application process, students are given the opportunity to prepare a piece to performance level, and then showcase their talents to the supporting community. Scholarship winners will perform at a Mount Vernon Music concert. Participation in one of Mount Vernon Music’s concerts scheduled April through June 2019 is required to receive the scholarship award. (April 18, May 31, and June 8, 2020).

VISUAL ARTS Maureen Killaby
GRADES: K-12

Maureen Killaby is a professional artist from Oregon and Washington State who moved to Lindale in 2004. She taught art classes at Tyler Junior College School of Continuing Studies from 2006-2013. Her passion for art began years ago with oil glaze paintings for fun and in recent years grew to include pencil art. She has spent many hours studying the history and the old master’s art.

After receiving a legal sciences degree Maureen picked up the pencil and painting as a hobby and quickly became obsessed with graphite and now is a full time artist and teacher. Maureen teaches graphite, oil painting and colored pencil classes for adults as well as two After School Art Programs. She believes in the importance of enriching young minds in the arts. She received her first commission in 2001 and has since received additional commissions from corporations and families across the US. She teaches in her studio and conducts workshops in and around the state of Texas. She has taken workshops and studied with Jeff Watts, Charlotte Wharton, Bruce Greene, Martin Greele and Romel De la Torre, Jeff Legg, David Cheifetz and Bryce Liston Cameron. Also, The Creative Arts Center in Dallas has been a new teaching venue for her as she conducts two workshops a month specializing in teaching her drawing techniques.

VISUAL ARTS Maureen Killaby Kids After School Program LINDALE
GRADES: 4-12
TUESDAYS/THURSDAYS: 3:30-5:30 p.m.
COST: $125 PER MONTH

The after school program is designed to teach kids, ranging from 9 on up, the basics of traditional art using the old masters concepts. They learn drawing fundamentals, oil painting, pastels and colored pencil. The students meet right after school on Tuesdays or Thursdays and are picked up at 5:30. The cost for the program is $125 a month and that includes all supplies except a coil brush washer from Hobby Lobby which is $9.99.

GRADES K-3 WEDNESDAYS 5-7 p.m./FRIDAYS 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
This after school program is designed to teach kids, ranging from 8 and under, the basics of traditional art using the old masters concepts. They learn drawing fundamentals, oil painting, pastels and colored pencil. The cost for the program is $125 a month and that includes all supplies except a coil brush washer from Hobby Lobby which is $9.99.

VISUAL ARTS Dyan Johnson: Artist/Wire Jewelry Demonstrations
GRADES: 9-12 (Detailed Jewelry)
GRADES: 1-8 (Simple Wire Jigs)

Contrast, shapes and textures inspired Dyan Johnson since childhood as she went on wilderness explorations that led to rock hounding, collecting treasures from nature and fashioning various works of art with them. Family members instilling creative expression was a valuable life force, along with studies that included graphic drawing, photography and ceramics. As a young adult, she spent almost 14 years practicing with a local silversmith. Dyan’s most recent creations are wire jewelry that include pendants, bracelets, chains, earrings, scarf or shawl pins, and more.

VISUAL ARTS KelbyOne Worldwide Photowalk
Photo and Video Contest
GRADES: 6-12

The annual (first Saturday of October) Worldwide Photowalk is a social photography event where photographers get together (usually in a downtown area) to walk around, shoot photos, and have fun with other photographers. There are leaders and registered walkers nearby in Mineola, Grand Saline, Quitman, and Sulphur Springs. To get a team together for VZ Arts & Cultural District, have someone apply to LEAD A WALK. Once approved, photographers sign up for that walk.

VISUAL ARTS Randy Martin: Artist/Metal Sculpture
Demonstrations/High School Metal Shop
GRADES: 9-12

Artist Randy Martin has lived in Van for more than 30 years and for much of that time he’s been creating something. About 20 years ago it was unique birdhouses and over the years he evolved into creating exquisite art sculptures out of metal. He travels to art shows all over the country and can be seen locally at the Edom Art Festival, the Junebug Festival in Edom and the up and coming Van Go Art Show in Van. He’ll need some welding room at the school to demonstrate his art.

VISUAL ARTS Kerian Babbitt Massey: Artist/Graphic Designer
Demonstrations/Various Art and Graphic Design Projects
GRADES: K-12

Kerian Babbitt-Massey is a local artist with a flair for the quirky. She creates illustrative pieces that are fun and funky. Her portfolio includes work for Extreme Home Makeover and Miranda Lamberts Pink Pistol. She is a graduate of The Art Center in Tucson, Arizona, and is a graphic designer/illustrator for several local companies. She has illustrated school and college murals for more than 10 years.

VISUAL ARTS Potters Brown Doug and Beth Brown
FIELD TRIP: EDOM GRADES: K-12

Doug Brown moved to Edom in 1971 from northern California and opened his pottery shop in Edom.  He established the art community in Edom along with the Edom Art Festival, going strong since 1971. His wife Beth joined him in 1991. Together they create and make the beautiful jewel-toned pieces that adorn their show room. Each piece is hand painted, and all the pottery is functional, food safe, and dishwasher safe.

VISUAL ARTS Sharon Gilchrist Foundation for the Arts
Christmas Card Student Art Contest
GRADES: K-12

The late artist Sharon Gilchrist started acrylic and oil painting around 2002 after retiring from her family business, Door Control Services. She submitted one of her first paintings to the Van Zandt County Fair and won third place. She started out with an interest in nature and animals and then discovered a love of Christmas themes, especially Santa with a Western flair. The family collection today includes numerous Western paintings by Sharon including images of John Wayne, saloon ladies, and two favorite canvases featuring a little cowboy on one and a little cowgirl on another.

For more than 15 years, Sharon sent Christmas cards to family, friends, teachers, business colleagues, and new relationships she continuously added to the mailing list. Once she began painting, she made her artwork part of her Christmas card tradition by featuring one of her paintings on the cover each year.

Sharon passed away in 2015. To honor her artistic spirit, the Gilchrist family continues the tradition of art on the cover of their annual cards with a student art contest for Van ISD kids. The winning artwork will appear on the cover of the annual Door Controls USA Christmas card that goes out to thousands around the world.

VISUAL ARTS Tyler Museum of Art Family Days
Second Saturday Every Month 2-4 p.m. Free admission

Interactive art projects, light snacks, and a festive atmosphere for all ages. Program focuses on fostering a deeper understanding of the museum’s spotlight exhibitions and having fun.

VISUAL ARTS Tyler Museum of Art School Tour Program
BEST TIMES/DAYS: Tuesday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. Other times negotiable.
GRADES: K-12 COST: $95 per session for up to 25 students

Exposing students to fine arts in a stimulating setting outside the classroom environment is essential in fostering critical thinking skills in young minds and contributing to their future success. Since 1975, the museum has offered guided tours led by trained volunteer docents and staff that encourage students to make connections between skills they are developing in school and the visual arts. These highly interactive tours focus on active learning strategies that engage and encourage students to experience artwork through lively discussions. Hands-on art activities in the TMA classroom reinforce this experience of comprehensive learning through culture.

Tours are available to all schools and grade levels – including home school groups – and scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the academic year (and also during summer months by special arrangement). Each tour lasts approximately 90 minutes (45 minutes in the galleries, 45 minutes for activities) and is compliant with TEKS across multiple subjects in all grade levels K-12. Cost is $95 per session for a typical group size of 25 students, and transportation subsidies are available on a limited basis upon request.

VISUAL ARTS Tyler Museum of Art Day of the Dead Art Exhibition
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: October 18, 2019
RECEPTION DATE: Sunday, October 27, 2019
EXHIBIT DATES: October 27-November 3, 2019
GRADES: 6-8

Each year TMA showcases artwork by more than 200 students in this popular community program, opening with a celebration of “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead), the traditional Mexican holiday honoring memories of family and friends. Any medium is allowed. The artwork is shown throughout the museum including a classroom, the lobby, and cafe areas. A reception for the artists and their families takes place with food and art projects

VISUAL ARTS 16th Annual Tyler Museum of Art High School Art Exhibition
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: February 26, 2020 
RECEPTION DATE: Sunday, March 29, 2020 
EXHIBIT DATES: March 29 – May 3, 2020
GRADE: 12

Each spring, the TMA offers dozens of aspiring artists the opportunity to show their work in a full-scale, professionally curated museum exhibition. Entry is open to all senior-level high school students as selected by their art instructors, with an average of 70 young artists participating each year. Five outstanding works as selected by a jury of art professors from local colleges and universities are presented with “Merit of Honor” awards during the Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony, when the community is invited to meet the participating artists, enjoy light refreshments – and cast their votes for the annual Viewers’ Choice Award presented at the exhibition’s conclusion. All participating artists receive Certificates of Participation and one-year student memberships to the TMA.

VISUAL ARTS Tyler Museum of Art Summer Art Camps
See also Creativity Camps GRADES: ALL

From late June to early August, close to 70 kids ages 7-13 and older dive into hands-on art experiences in a series of half-day and full-day camps. Each session is supervised by degreed artists and educators, and culminates with a small exhibition of campers’ work and a community reception. TMA may take these programs off-site in

VISUAL ARTS Tyler Junior College Summer Camps
GRADES: 3-7 (ages 8-12)

The Petite Picassos art camp will introduce budding artists to different art terms, techniques and media suited to their skill level in a fun and entertaining way. Campers will experience color-blending, print-making, rubbings, mosaics, collage, watercolor and clay-sculpting, just to name a few. In addition, students will learn about and practice museum etiquette, as they tour the Tyler Museum of Art. You will learn about a variety of artists like Henri Matisse, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso, and more. At the end of each day, Picassos will have a masterpiece to bring home for display.

$159 price includes T-shirt, camp photo, and all supplies. Campers must provide their own snacks. Meet at TJC Ornelas Health & Physical Education Center 1205 S. Palmer

CAMP1076 Variety of other classes for all ages including Watercolor and Acrylic Painting; Jazz-Hip Hop Dance; Interactive Storytelling; Pencil, Ink & Charcoal; Frozen Dance