A Frozen Evening In Sunshine

A Frozen Evening In Sunshine

Staff Photo Dane La Born
Attendees to the “Frozen” themed Winter Art Show at the Sunshine School in Rogers, Ark., observe the student’s artwork.

The Friday before Northwest Arkansas had it’s own frozen weather, a different kind of evening in the cold was going on.

At the NWA Sunshine School in Rogers, local artists, teachers and students came together to put on their annual winter Art Show to raise money for the school itself. Locals poured out, braving the icy weather, to show their support for this little school and were treated to a really cool art show as well as wine tasting and lots of good food.

The NWA Sunshine School, located in Rogers, is a school that teaches children with disabilities. They were started over 50 years ago in the basement of a church, and through the support of parents, teachers, and alumni have grown exponentially since then. Every year, they collaborate with a handful of local artists to put on this show, to raise money for the school and provide some good old-fashioned fun for the students.

I had the chance to talk with Jayne Kuhn, the director of human resources at Sunshine School and one of the many people responsible for organizing the event.

“Sunshine school was started to provide an alternative learning environment for children with disabilities, because they didn’t have anything like that available at the time, it was 50 years ago,” she tells me as we talk in the midst of all the activity.

A harpist is playing to one side, people are ambling by holding their wine glasses and looking over tables of pottery, necklaces, paintings, and sketches.

“We started with a handful of students and teachers, and have grown from that small bunch in a church basement to what we are now,” Kuhn said. “We have 136 kids and 210 employees at Sunshine School.”

It really is a wonderful thing to see. I grew up diagnosed with ADHD, which was later (much later) reconfigured to be asperger’s instead, on the autism spectrum. Looking around the school and knowing it was specifically designed for kids like I was made me smile. It’s good that this place is there, that they take such an active role with the students.


Staff Photo Dane La Born
A portrait of Elsa from the Disney movie, “Frozen.”

Walking by the auction table, everything carried with it one theme that has dominated the children of the world since it’s inception: Frozen. Olaf the snowman gazed at me from two canvases held together by two twig arms. Four small 5×5 canvases each had a row of snowmen on them. There were Elsas and Annas, Olafs and Finns. There was even the ice monster that served as one of the movie’s villains, facing off against a tiny pipe cleaner Olaf. Some of the professional artists had gotten into the spirit as well, with beautiful landscapes that were part Van Gogh, part renaissance. Teachers walked by in costume and everything was blue and white. The weather outside enhanced the entire feeling of the night, and whether it was the lighting, the gentle strumming of the harp, or the fact that the entire evening had a fairy tale inspiration at it’s heart, but it felt, in all the best corny ways, as magical as they intended.

If you didn’t get the chance to go and check out the very cool art on display, and for purchase at this show, do not fret. The Sunshine School is doing their annual Gala/Fundraiser, hosted by Horton Farms, on April 11, 2015. It’s their biggest fundraiser of the year and sure to be as good a time as the Art Show was. As for the Art Show itself, it’s a yearly event so be on the lookout this time next year, and visit http://www.nwasunshineschool.org/ for more information.

Categories: Family Friendly