Kids’ art to brighten car tags
By EMILY BUCHANAN
The Columbia County Tax Collector’s office has introduced a program that allows elementary students to use their creativity to help raise funds for local art teachers begin- ning next school year.
The Kids Tag Art program is an educational-based program where elementary students draw designs that can be made into novelty license plates for the front of the family car or van, said Tax Collector Ronnie Brannon. The program started at a tax collector’s office in Polk County, and has expanded to eight other states.
Since the program is geared toward the state department of education Florida Standards, Brannon said the local school district has fully endorsed it.
The drawing will begin in August when the new school year starts, he said. First- through fifth-grade students will be given a format to follow to create their own tag and market them to friends and family. The tags will be created and distributed in December.
“The profit for the tag stays with that art teacher,” Brannon said. “However, through the program’s sponsorships, money that is left over will be divided amongst the schools that participate in the program, even if a tag isn’t sold.”
Art teachers will be asked to choose a select number of fifth- grade students’ tag designs to be judged by a panel of local artists who will pick winners.
A select number of those will be chosen for display.
All funds will be distributed through the Columbia Public Schools Foundation, Inc. and director Dorothy Spradley, Brannon said. The expenses will be paid through the foundation as well, which means no funds are required from the tax collector’s office or the school board.
The program offers different levels of sponsorship. So far, PotashCorp-White Springs has signed on as a platinum sponsor, along with Edward Jones Investment and First Federal Bank of Florida, which signed on as silver sponsors. Brannon said they are currently looking for other sponsors.
“We have about 5,000 elementary students,” he said. “It’s been a successful program with other counties, so we look for it to be successful here. We also hope to see it grow over the years.”
Westside Elementary School art teacher Vanessa Grantham said she is thrilled about the oppor tunities the program will bring to the local art teachers in the school’s district.
“Everything we use in the art room is consumable,” she said. “When the kids are done with their projects, the supplies are gone.”
The paper the kids use to draw or build their arts and crafts with is the biggest expense in the art room, Grantham said. She also said the art room is in constant need of other supplies such as clay, br ushes, glazes for the clay, crayons and beads.
The tax collector’s office estimates that the program will raise anywhere between $500-900 per art teacher.
The tax collector’s of fice has mailed out sponsorship information regarding sponsorship opportunities for the Kids Tag Art program.
If anyone has any questions regarding the program, Brannon said to contact the Columbia County Tax Collector’s office at 385-758-1080 and ask for the Kids Tag Art Program.
“Columbia County has nine elementar y schools,” Brannon said. “We are lucky enough that all nine elementary schools have ar t teachers in them, and we want to help them out in any way possible.”