The Transylvania Times -

Gallery Dream Still Alive Despite Funding Woes


April 3, 2009

This artist's rendition of the planned art gallery is what supporters hope to see one day on the Brevard High School campus. (Drawing courtesy of Harris Architects)

Dodge a ball this Saturday to help Transylvania County students build their art gallery.

The Transylvania County Schools Art and Design Gallery Committee is holding a dodge ball event this Saturday, April 4, at 3 p.m. to help raise money for a future art gallery all Transylvania students can use.

Sean Parrish, the Brevard High School art teacher who came up with the idea to build an art gallery, said the gallery is needed to complete every student's experience in Transylvania Schools art program.

"This was my dream," said Parrish, who came to Brevard High 16 years ago.

"It was an idea I came up with after I basically saw a need to have it as a completion to the arts program. It was just the item that was missing."

The gallery will be a simple and cost effective design with indirect natural lighting, display areas, an outdoor classroom and educational space for students from kindergarten to grade 12.

But after five and a half years of holding fundraisers, Parrish said they are no closer to breaking ground for the $239,000 art gallery. The art gallery is to be built in the courtyard at Brevard High School.

"We've raised money through various things, some of which is cash and some commitments, so we've roughly half left to raise," said Parrish.

Most of this money has been raised through art student field trips, fundraising contributions and the brick engraving campaign. The brick engraving campaign allows Brevard High seniors to purchase a brick with their name on it that will be placed on the gallery's sidewalk.

Parrish has also looked for grants but has been unsuccessful with his search.

The gallery art committee and Parrish do plan to launch a website,, this April and create brochures to help increase contributions.

Parrish said he hopes the community will step forward to help them raise more money but especially with the dodge ball event.

"We are hoping to have as many people that can come to the dodge ball event as can make it. The more there is, the merrier," said Parrish.

Parrish said all are welcome whether they want to play or stand by and watch.

The event will raise money through $4 per person tickets sales, concessions and face painting. Brevard High art students will be conducting the face painting.

"Roughly, I would hope to raise $1,000 but more would definitely be great," said Parrish.

The dodge ball teams will be comprised of students from Rosman High and Brevard High.

"This will not be a Brevard High School and Rosman High School competition," said Parrish.

"Whoever is the champion is the champion and will receive a trophy."

Brevard High Principal Doug Odom said the dodge ball event is just another example of the effort Parrish and the committee has put forward to see this "worthwhile project" come to pass.

"Hopefully in the rough economic times we are in people will come out because they realize the importance of art," said Odom.

"They have done a lot of things to raise a little money here and a little money there."

Although Odom does not plan at this time to take part in the game, he plans to stand on the sideline and cheer them on.

"It is going to be a fun time with a very serious goal," said Odom.

Seriousness and dedication are two attributes Parrish said he and committee members have toward seeing this gallery built.

"I've been fortunate to have a very dedicated group of volunteer parents," said Parrish.

"Our goal is to develop the talents and interest of students beyond it being a hobby."

Mark and Cathy Bailey, Emily Rogers, Sheila Treacy, Doug Harris, the gallery's architect, and other parents that have helped along the way are the ones who encourage Parrish to keep reaching for his vision.

"As a teacher, it's a bit difficult to remain positive," said Parrish, who has waited six years to see his vision go from blueprint to reality.

"But the committee of parents have remained dedicated to this cause even though the majority have seen their children graduate."

Students like Alexandra Owen and Katlyn Charles also continue to encourage Parrish, other students and parents that the gallery will be built.

Owen, a junior and president of the Brevard High student art guild, said she would like to see the gallery built soon.

"It would be a place for us to show everyone what we can do and to have a place for our art to be in," said Owen.

Owen began drawing, or what she fondly calls "scribbling," when she was in pre-school.

After being in the art program at Brevard High, she plans to attend Savannah College of Art and Design to major in animation and minor in sequential art.

Although Owen is optimistic she will see the gallery erected soon, Charles, who also plans to attend Savannah College of Art and Design to major as an art teacher and minor in sequential art, said she would probably have to visit the gallery or be a future teacher to see it.

Charles, a junior and vice president of the Brevard High art guild, believes it will take a little more time and a lot more community effort.

The community needs to realize it's more than just displaying students art, said Charles, but it's "having other people see your artwork, giving you a sense of pride and get to see your achievement."

Charles said the great art program and Parrish is what led her to a destined future in art.

"Before I came to Brevard High, I definitely couldn't draw," said Charles.

Parrish said Charles had talent all along but the program honed her skills.

During Parrish's time at Brevard High, he said he has worked to develop an art program that increased appreciation and prepared students for a future in the art industry.

According to Parrish, art can be a hobby but continues to grow stronger in the workforce.

"As a student of art, when I was in college I grew to appreciate the value art has on our society," said Parrish.

Art is in fashion, movies, the creation of buildings, web design, graphics and all around, he said.

"It's a big part of society but I don't think that people realize it," said Parrish.

The strength of the program has helped to see several students graduate and continue on to successful careers in art and design, said Parrish.

"The developing of this program has been one of my central goals as a teachers," said Parrish.

"But this is my one last hurdle [the art gallery] in developing this program."


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