Communication Builds Our Community

AAUW Art in Schools Reaches 15-year Anniversary

COVID-19 did not deter volunteers from the American Association of University Women from delivering nearly 100 framed prints of famous fine art paintings to area schools for public display. This year the selections range from Middle-Ages masters Durer and Brueghel to more modern artists such as Matisse and Dali.

Advancing through their K-12 school years, with displays changing annually, students see a wide variety of styles and periods of art through this program. More pieces are available on loan to schools interested in participating.

With no art museum nearby, the works are intended to expose elementary school children to fine art, encourage middle school students to explore history through art history and help high school youth by having an atmosphere of creativity in their hallways.

"Some learn better through the disciplines of science, technology and math. Others learn better through art. And each enhances the other. That's why we need both, not one or the other." These were the sentiments of AAUW's Art-in-Schools project co-founder, the late Mary Beery. She and the late Ann Norton joined forces to launch the project in 2005 and it has only grown since then. The year 2020 marks its 15th anniversary.

In conjunction with the displays, short PowerPoint slideshow lectures about famous artists are available to be presented to elementary school groups. This year's featured artists will be Van Gogh and Grandma Moses.

AAUW is grateful for the community's support of this long-term project. Lisa Pedersen of the Gallery and Frame Shop, the Lake Wales Charter Schools, Polk County Public Schools, Candlelight Christian School and Vanguard School have been invaluable partners. The project garnered honorary recognition for the Lake Wales branch from the Lake Wales Charter Schools, Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce and AAUW Florida.

Art in Schools is funded by small grants and donations, often in the form of funding to frame a print in honor of a person or organization. Donations are tax deductible to the donor.

In addition to the Art in Schools project, the group has sponsored a STEM or STEAM Day for up to 60 elementary school girls for many years. This year's co-chairs are Dorothy Scott Wilson 863-287-7347 and Pauline Philips 307-630-8002.

Recently, branch volunteers have formed a speakers bureau on various topics. This service is coordinated by Branch Co-president Juanita Zwaryczuk, 631-317-0159.

Art displays are currently coordinated by project Co-Chair Betty Martin 863-638-1877 and Power Point presentations are coordinated by Co-Chair Linda Brown 231-420-0991.

The public is invited to contact AAUW if interested in any of these community service offerings.

AAUW Lake Wales Branch, Inc. is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization whose purpose is to promote equity for women through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. AAUW was founded in 1881 and the branch was founded in 1953. The branch affiliate emphasizes charitable giving through annual monetary awards to adult women pursuing college education. The group also supports other area nonprofits engaged in education. For further information, visit


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