News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 20, 2013

Not just graffiti: Children learn to express inner positive thoughts, expand vocabulary through street art

Dustyn Fatheree
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The scribble of chalk brushing up against a stone wall could be heard Wednesday as children showed their creativity at the 14th and Chestnut Community Center.

The messages on the wall were straightforward: “We are ... artistic, amazing, hope, funny, unique.”

Edward Holloman, professional artist and art teacher at Terre Haute North High School, said the first couple of street art classes aim at an underlying message.

“These exercises are focused on increasing self image through positive adjectives and words,” he said. “We are also looking to expand their vocabulary.”

Soulaf Abas, an Indiana State University art graduate student, agrees by adding that the activity aims to develop a positive thought process toward the individual and society.

Holloman said the street art class gives the parents an opportunity to send their children to a creative exercise class without spending money on art classes. At the end of the program, Holloman said the children’s art work will be delivered to ISU’s Turman Gallery where it will be displayed for the community to enjoy.

Aside from the chalk art, Holloman has other activities planned for the next few weeks.  

“We will finish this project up, but we will stay on positive word meaning,” he said.  “We will work with more third-dimensional words, then we will move on to clay structure, after that, we will transition into painting.”

Holloman also has a sculpture project in mind, but asks the community to donate junk to be used as the assembly parts.

 The street art class is held every Monday and Wednesday until the first week of August from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., said Bill Fetts, director of the community center.  

The community center is open 9 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. weekdays with activities daily.  

“Every day starts with breakfast and chapel activities,” Fetts said. “We have a variety of activities such as arts, crafts, swimming, bowling and field trips every Friday. We have ISU athletic teams and other people come speak to the children so they get used to that environment.”

The community center is in its 14th year and has had children involved with the program end up working there or going to college, he said.

For more information or to donate items to be used for the street art program, call 812-232-3126 or visit 1403 Chestnut St.

The class is funded by a grant from the Wabash Valley Community Foundation, according to an ISU press release. Twenty-five children from the community center and Benjamin Franklin Elementary School were chosen for the nine-week educational course.  

Reporter Dustyn Fatheree can be reached at 812-231-4255 and