Artist in Residence at Yerger
Artist in Residence at Yerger
Ken McLemore, Hope Public Schools

HOPE – Art often involves math; sometimes, it involves science, and it frequently requires an understanding of history. The interdisciplinary nature of art that is brought to the Hope Public Schools through the Arts in Education program is a side effect of a series of classes taught by Artist in Residence Mary Sanders-Overton.

Sanders-Overton is an Arkansas artist who is part of a wide range of arts contributors to the program through the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. She is available to the Hope Public Schools through a grant program in conjunction with the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council.

Sanders-Overton, of West Fork, returned to the Hope district this month to teach a week-long session on the art of geography at Yerger Middle School.

“I like to show them how it looks and what the history is,” Sanders-Overton said.

One of Sanders-Overton’s favorite projects involves Arkansas history and the development of both a topographic and historical map of the state. Students create detailed geographic maps of the state on paper, and other classes produce detailed three-dimensional maps that reflect the topography of the state, integrating art, history and geography into the final product.

“It’s the multiple aspects of it that make it interesting to them,” Sanders-Overton said.

She emphasizes a research-based result, which has helped students better understand the geography of Arkansas, and the value of the concept of geography.

Sanders-Overton received the Arkansas Department of Education Excellence in Education Award in 2014, and she has participated in the AIE program for almost a decade.