Mrs. Marnie Phillips, the art teacher at Clarendon Elementary, has one goal as an art teacher:to build confidence in students so they are proud of the art they create.

“I want them [kids] to feel pride and not be afraid to take risks so that they can create using a wide variety of media,” Phillips said.

Phillips has been able to accomplish this by introducing new art projects into the classroom at Clarendon. Throughout the past six years or so, she has used over $3.5 thousand in grants from the Mukwonago Education Foundation to fund equipment and supplies. She has purchased materials required to fuse glass, fiberglass, paint, digital cameras, and scrap metal and tools cut metal.

Students have made decorative butterflies out of scrap metal and drawn a beautiful mural on the side of an old building. Phillips has also been trying to integrate science and art by building robots with electrical circuits and magnetic Wooly Willys. Makey Makeys, inventions that use everyday objects to make touchpads, give students the opportunity to combine today’s technology and an unorthodox form of art. These are just a handful of projects Phillips has brought to the classroom.

“I don’t think I would have gotten what I wanted without grants,” Phillips admitted.”I am getting stuff that I would normally not be able to do or fund with my regular budget.”

Phillips has always tried to go above and beyond in the classroom. The money donated by the Education Foundation has enabled her to go much further than drawing and painting, and her students have responded with enthusiasm and positive energy.

“It enhances excitement towards art and they can see stuff in art that they don’t normally noticed,” Phillips observed.

But she is not done yet.

In the future, Phillips hopes to recreate a life size version of the infamous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte over by Phantom Lake. While this painting was completed by a professional painter, Phillips claims her blossoming art students can still produce equally impressive work.

“My students, although they’re young, shouldn’t be underestimated in what they can do,” Phillips said. “You would think an adult would paint a mural but kindergarteners can paint a mural, too. Just because they’re kids doesn’t mean they should be underestimated in what they can do.”

The money the Education Foundation has given to Phillips has, indeed, proved that age and experience do not determine the quality of artwork as Clarendon is now surrounded by impressive paintings, sculptures, drawings, and other expressive forms of art all done by students who have the potential to become future artists.