Students ranging from kindergarten to graduating high school seniors provided their artwork depicting the theme, “The Art of Giving” for the Tyler ISD Foundation, Thursday, May 26th at the Tyler Museum of Art.
This event, part of a calendar year of events celebrating the 20th year of service and support from the education foundation, showcased forty art works.
Each student was able to select from more than twenty-two nonprofit organizations in the area—and some added nonprofits that were not listed.  Half of the proceeds went to the Tyler ISD Foundation and half are to be given to the nonprofit the student artists select.
“Part of our mission of the Tyler ISD Foundation is to inspire learning, enrich teaching and enhance opportunities,” said Larry Goddard, CFRE, executive director of the Tyler ISD Foundation since 2006.  “Just think of how many segments of our population were positively impacted by this event.”
“First and foremost the students were given a once in a lifetime opportunity—for their work to be shown in a top tiered art museum,” continued Goddard.  Approximately 150 family members, students, teachers, donors and representatives from the nonprofits, Foundation and Tyler Junior College attended the event.
“The teachers added this project to their lesson plans; every campus from elementary to high school except one participated; the nonprofits on our list of choices benefited; the Tyler Museum of  Art benefited—some had no idea the art museum was a nonprofit organization so we love that discussion was part of the process,” he said.
“Our parents of the students and their family members were thrilled to see student achievement; the school administrators attending got to visit with parents and students; our board of directors for the Foundation certainly got a boost from seeing the faces of the student artists.”
Barbara Bass, Tyler Mayor, made comments including emphasizing the importance of the arts and music in curricula for students, no matter their vocation.
Todd Cruthird, Regional Vice President of Suddenlink for Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana created the idea last year and used Dixie Elementary as a ‘trial’ basis.  Over $15,000 was raised in their art auction for Mercy Ships.  The students at Dixie voted to send their proceeds to help Haiti.
This year, the event was expanded.  Jennifer Moreman, Tyler ISD staff member, assisted with the gallery showing, which included previews at Texas Bank and Trust’s West Grande location and Suddenlink corporate offices on ESE Loop.
“We gave trophies to the top 40 art works of the more than 250 submitted.  You know, soccer players and other students get lots of trophies.  This was the first time I’ve seen an art trophy and, you know what?  They were truly cool,” said Goddard.
Four ‘Best in Show’ winners were chosen and provided medallions and a special surprise when Dr. Kimberly Russell, Vice President of Advancement at Tyler Junior College, approached the podium and presented each of the best in show recipients with a $500 scholarship to Tyler Junior College.
“There was a huge ovation at that point of the evening. You should have seen the students and their families’ reaction.  One of the students is enrolling this summer for classes at Tyler Junior College; we are proud when Tyler ISD students chose to go to Tyler Junior College because of our 85 year partnership,” said Goddard.
The exact dollar totals are not finalized but it is expected to be between $30,000 and $40,000.  Also, only 17 students have selected their nonprofit of choice, so the Tyler ISD Foundation officials are waiting for decisions.  Some artwork remains and an announcement for an upcoming auction to continue “The Art of Giving” will be provided next week.

Best in Show artists: Jose Basilio, Avery Allison, Ana Ruiz and Elizabeth Ortiz. Standing: Mayor Barbara Bass; Todd Cruthird, event creator; Larry Goddard, Tyler ISD Foundation; Dr. Kimberly Russell, Tyler Junior College