The anticipation was palpable at Esther F. Garrison School of Visual and Performing Arts this afternoon as the kindergarten through eighth grade students were mysteriously pulled from their classrooms late in the day to receive a special surprise from SCAD, its “big sister” school of the arts in Savannah.
As the hundreds of Garrison students lined up near the school’s front entrance, two SCAD buses pulled into the driveway with live drum music pulsing from the windows.
Art the Bee, SCAD’s university mascot, led the SCAD Drum Line out of one bus door as a cadre of SCAD students, faculty and staff unloaded from the other. As Art and the drum line performed, the SCAD volunteer army pulled hundreds of art and design books to stock the Garrison library.
Following the performances and stocking of shelves (and lots of grins and giggles by the youngsters), the SCAD volunteers peeled away to individual classrooms to read to the students. Now in its fifteenth year, the SCAD “Book Buddies” program of student, faculty and staff volunteers works with a number of local schools to reinforce reading skills with local children.
While the big day may have been out-of-the-norm for the Garrison students, it wasn’t exactly out of the ordinary for SCAD.
Under the direction of SCAD President Paula Wallace, the university has supported Garrison since before the new school opened its doors this fall. Efforts include revitalizing Garrison’s grounds and public lobby areas with new paint, fixtures and furniture; loaning artwork; and donating 15 leadingedge Mac computers to create a new computer lab.
“Seeing the big smiles on the faces of all these young students today truly reinforces why SCAD supports our local community through efforts like this,” said SCAD Senior Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Management Pamela Rhame. “From volunteers offering their time and talent at local schools and nonprofits to the hundreds of free, public events that SCAD hosts every year, we strive to positively engage and impact our neighbors.”
In addition to the university’s work with Garrison, SCAD students, faculty and staff volunteer their time and talent with a number of other local organizations such as Savannah Arts Academy, Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity, the H.E.Art program at Memorial Hospital, Kids’s Café at Kayton Homes, and the Pet Project at the Chatham Humane Society, among others.