Everyone likes to be recognized for their achievements, which is why the first annual Young Artists Gallery Stroll was an exciting event for some elementary-aged special education students.
Student teachers who are members of the BYU Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) decided to organize the Gallery Stroll to give their young students an opportunity to show their art work to an appreciative audience. The SCEC arranged for every one of the 50 student teachers in elementary school summer special education classes to participate.
Elementary special education students attend summer school because they need extra help to maintain the knowledge and skills they gain during the school year. All of the student teachers had children in their classes create an art project for the gallery stroll, which took place at the BYU Conference Center. Students from 24 mild/moderate and 26 severe special education classes made art projects like posters with clouds, flowers, or letters of the alphabet related to their daily classroom lessons.
At the Gallery Stroll, 150 people strolled in and out while student teachers from SCEC excitedly talked to their students and students’ families. Parents explained that their children had begged to come to the art show, excited to share what they were doing at school with parents and siblings.
Chloe Palethorpe, SCEC President, described how happy she was with the participation from the student teachers and the students’ families. “My favorite part of the gallery stroll was seeing the kids walk in with their family, so excited to show off what they had done,” Palethorpe said. “If your artwork was on display for the public to come see, you’d be excited too – right? I think that’s why the kids liked it so much: They were famous, and it was cool for them to see their teachers supporting them as well.”
Katie Steed, SCEC faculty advisor, who attended with her family, said the event was “amazing” and that the club plans to repeat it annually. “It was wonderful to see the children’s faces light up as they showed their parents and siblings what they had done,” Steed said. “It was also great to see the BYU students’ faces light up as they saw their students arrive for the show.”