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Meramec Fifth-Graders Become Art Aficionados

On the morning of Saturday, Sept. 7, three Meramec Elementary students and their teacher, Beth Williams, met at the Saint Louis Art Fair, ready to set out on a mission to shop for artwork. For the second year in a row, Meramec Elementary was selected to take part in the Art Fair’s Student Art Aficionados program, which gives students in grades 5-12 an authentic art buying experience.


After learning her application was selected for this year’s program, Williams opened her own application process to the school’s fifth-graders. Ultimately, Thomas Griffey, Jada Skinner and Jay Wojciechowski were selected as this year’s art aficionados. The trio was tasked with researching the Art Fair artists, becoming familiar with art mediums and styles and considering locations for art to be displayed within their school building. The art aficionados excitedly plotted a map of artists and art to seek out at the Art Fair.


The program provided students with two separate budgets: $750 for students to use to purchase art for their school and an additional $750 to buy art that will be added to the Saint Louis Art Fair’s Public Art Collection. This art collection travels to public spaces in the St. Louis area for all St. Louisans to enjoy.


From 11 a.m. on Saturday when artists opened their tents until 2 p.m., Williams and her students traveled from tent to tent, talking to the artists, selecting their favorite artwork and completing their purchases. Meramec’s art aficionados were proud of their purchases, which included ceramic art, batik works and a graphite drawing.


The Student Art Aficionados Program will culminate with the Student Art Aficionados Showcase held on Oct. 2 at Third Degree Glass Factory. At the showcase, students will present and justify their purchases from the Saint Louis Art Fair. Following the showcase, the art will then be delivered to Meramec and put on display.


The Student Art Aficionados Program is made possible by Cultural Festivals, the producer of the Saint Louis Art Fair, and presented by Centene Charitable Foundation.