Pictured, left to right, Trish Crowe, Anna Mann, and Anne Dean welcome the Wetsel art students to Firnew.

Eighth grade art students had the opportunity to interact with local artists last week.

Students in Anna Mann’s art class traveled to Firnew Farm last Thursday. While there, they interacted with members of the farm’s artist’s circle, a group of local and regional artists specializing in a variety of art techniques including painting, jewelry, cartooning and more. The local artists taught the students about their specific art techniques, meeting with two to three students at a time. Some students also brought in their own art pieces, partaking in the circle’s review and critique of each other’s work.

Mann, who is in her first year of teaching, said the 17 students participating in the field trip applied to do so. She said bringing them to Firnew allows the students to experience local art and know that art can be done anywhere. It also exposes them to forms of art that there may not be time to do in the classroom.

Ann Deane, a watercolor painter and former high school math teacher, worked with Mann to organize the trip. She said the artist’s circle tries to coordinate with local art teachers, but last week’s visit was the first of its kind.

“We’re hoping to do this again,” Deane said. “This is a trial and we’ll go from there. It’s important to instill an interest in art at an early age and not have it be a separate subject.”

Jewelry designer Cheryl Ragland said she enjoyed interacting with the students. She demonstrated how she creates jewelry using intricate beading.

“This was a really good experience,” she said. “[I think it caused students] to start to think about jewelry as art. It was an eye opening experience for them as to what art could mean in the long-term.”

Painter Barbara Wallace agreed.

“I really enjoyed it,” she said. “It was interesting to ask them what they were into. I could also critique my own work as I was telling them about it. It’s fun to find kids who will deliberately sign up for an art class.”

The students themselves also enjoyed the visit.

“I really liked seeing the various techniques,” Violet Karges said.

Nevaeh Hill agreed, saying she liked the tour. Hill enjoys drawing food and has created her own sketch book with her artwork.

Ryan Palm said the field trip definitely met his expectations.

“I was really hoping to learn new stud and see around the farm,” he said. “I learned new techniques and got to see the farm.”

Dominick Gomez said he also had a good time.

“It was a nice experience to see different types of art,” he said.

Following their interactions with the artists, the students enjoyed a tour around the farm and had lunch by the river.

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