Did you know in the third grade what you wanted to be as an adult? For most of us, probably not. Yet by the third grade it has already been decided for most students that they either are or are not creative enough to be any type of artist.

Stacy Barton from Southern Hills Elementary decided she wanted her students to see the possibilities and, with the help of the Arts Council of Wichita Falls, she was able to connect with the MSU Kappa Pi International Art Society and the Art Relay Gallery began to take form.

In Jaunary of 2019 25 second-graders created their very own "Monster" drawings. Their imaginations ran free and they created everything from fire and ice monsters to hug monsters. Those 25 drawings were handed over to the MSU students who re-imagined their ideas and showed how continuing their study of art could impact their work.

The finished pieces went on display inside Sikes Senter Mall near the At Home store last weekend and will remain there until the first week of May.

In case you're wondering if all of this attention on art is valuable, the Arts Council tells us that at-risk high school students who finish more than one art class are 50% less likely to drop out of school and that students who complete more arts classes have up to 15% higher pass rates on standardized tests than other students.

The arts benefits the Texas economy too, to the tune of $5.5 billion in sales and more than $343 million in state sales tax revenue.

And the employment of nearly 1 in 15 Texans is connected to the arts with an average wage around $80,000, nearly double the state average for non-creative industries.

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