When Give901 (that’s our sister campaign that raises support for educational equity in Memphis) needed a great piece of artwork for a project, they immediately thought of the art program at Grizzlies Prep downtown. The Art Program Lead at the school, Derrick Arrington, has a great reputation for bringing out the best in young Grizzlies Prep artists, and April Ghueder, Project Manager for the school, goes to great lengths to bring new opportunities to the young men middle-schoolers.
Read on to see how Give901 found a young Grizzlies Prep artist to help share their story!
After Mr. Arrington and Ms. Gheuder helped facilitate a small contest and Give901 reviewed dozens of great submissions, the work of eighth grader La’Ron Robinson rose to the top. Not only had La’Ron submitted a piece with iconic graphic qualities that were perfect for the project, but he’d done it using digital art—a medium he taught himself. In the end, Give901 awarded La’Ron the grand prize, and his work will appear on a branded notebook for Give901. We sat down with La’Ron and Mr. Arrington to learn more about their love for art.
HEAR FROM THE ARTIST AND TEACHER...
La'Ron, how did you first become interested in art, and how has Mr. Arrington helped you improve in your art?
I became interested in art as I watched Bob Ross on TV. That was something I did with my late Grandmother. Mr. Arrington has helped me become a better artist by helping me organize my thoughts about my work—and helping me do that before I start working.
Mr. Arrington, what do you enjoy about teaching La'Ron and the other young artists at Grizzlies Prep?
I enjoy how creative the kiddos are—in their eyes there is no limit to what they can create. I encourage them to keep that imagination as they get older. Because Grizzlies Prep is an all boys school, it’s almost like a brotherhood that is built between the students. You can really feel that in some of the electives classes, so we experience that in the art classroom. They are some of the most gifted children I’ve been around, truly.
La'Ron, we heard that you taught yourself how to create digital artwork. Tell us more about that.
I learned just by playing with my computer and figuring it out. I wanted to figure it out because I like the option to use different mediums without buying new supplies.
Are you going to keep working on your art?
What is in the future for you?
Yes, definitely! I aspire to be a professional artist and have some dope stuff on the way!