AccessArts students' masterpiece find permanent home

AUTUMN OWENS aowens@empiretribune.com Twitter @aowensETnews
Julie Crouch, right, director of the CTFAC, presented Mary Meredith, director of the Stephenville Public Library, with the AccessArts students' Starry Night painting.

Last spring the Accessible Arts Clubhouse, facilitated by Stephenville ISD music therapist Cathy Knoll, painted two renditions of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night and now the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council has found the paintings a permanent home at the Stephenville Public Library.

“I’m real excited to have it here at the library. It looks really great and I think everybody’s going to enjoy it,” said Mary Meredith, director of the library. “They were looking for a permanent home for it and I think (Julie Crouch) thought the library would be an excellent place, probably because the children did it and it has a good home among children.”

Accessible Arts Clubhouse provides services for Erath County students with learning disabilities through visual art, drama and music, and provides public venues for the students to share their art.

The Starry Night masterpiece came together like a puzzle with each student painting a four-inch square of the image.

“It was an ambitious project and they just knocked it out of the park. The masterpiece itself is so rich and when you put all the pieces together, it really brought Starry Night to life; it rivals the original,” said Julie Crouch, executive director of the CTFAC. “What’s also neat is that all ages worked on this and (Knoll) really incorporates the arts along with a lesson plan.”

The organization is sponsored by the CTFAC and was previously funded by Erath County United Way, now the Stephenville Evening Lions Club has now taken over funding.

On top of donating the painting, the CTFAC also donated two books Knoll used in her comprehensive lesson teaching students all about the life of Van Gogh.

“I am thrilled this art - created by students dealing with significant challenges and limitations - has a permanent home and can be admired by the public,” Knoll wrote in an email. “Our featured artist this year is Henri Matisse. Although he faced significant disabilities in his life, Matisse was an esteemed painter, an accomplished violinist and an extraordinary paper artist.”