Bowmar discovers treasure trove of artwork created by former students

Published 11:06 am Thursday, March 5, 2020

In 2012, a piece of Bowmar Avenue Elementary School’s history had been unearthed from storage.

Ceramic tiles on which students had designed images of nature were pulled from boxes and offered back to those who had attended Bowmar Avenue during the 1994 to 1995 calendar school year.

The tiles had originally been placed on brick walls in front of the school as part of the learning grant “Makarios!,” a Greek word meaning “What joy there is in this place.”

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Now, eight years later, more tiles have been discovered and like in 2012, these pieces of artwork are being offered back to students.

“We are about to have a renovation and we need all the space we can get,” Bowmar Avenue Principal Jason Bennett said, and in cleaning out closets at the school, the tiles, along with artwork by students from previous years, were discovered.

It was thought, Bennett said, “that all of the tiles had been gotten rid of or destroyed, so people didn’t even know they were there.”

In a November 2012 article in The Vicksburg Post, Cheryl Montgomery said the ceramic tiles, which are painted and glazed had been part of the outdoor beautification aspect of the grant. Montgomery, along with Susie Payne, who were members of the Parent Teacher Organization, had taken action after hearing at the time that Bowmar could lose its magnet school status.

Therefore the women applied for a $10,000 grant from International Paper. Entergy also donated $1,000 to the grant and with more donors and volunteer support, more than $80,000 went into the project.

The year-long project, which in addition to the tiles, included planting trees, was a success due to the efforts of students, teachers and volunteers.

Marla Bonelli, who is the school’s art teacher, said she expects parents would want the tiles their children painted.

“They are so cute,” Bonelli said.

Because the school has posted information about the tiles on their Facebook page, Bennett said, some people had already come to the school to pick theirs up.

“Some students have come up here to sit down and go through the tiles,” he said. Former students have also been able to find tiles created by former classmates.

After 25 years, finding the tiles could be likened to discovering a time capsule or like Bonelli said, “It was like opening a gift that was tucked away.”

Those interested in looking through the tiles and artwork can visit Bowmar Elementary without an appointment. There is no charge to pick up any of the artwork created by your children.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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