WES Students Paint the Windows of Shopping Center

Adding their artistic musings to the windows of the Woodland Shopping Center are Dennis (front) and Sophia. Students of Woodland Elementary School have been painting the shopping center windows for the past 37 years. (Photo by Beth McCray)

By Lura Jackson


For the past 37 years, the students of Woodland Elementary School have shared their artistic musings with the community by painting the windows of the Woodland Shopping Center. This year’s event took place during the week of October 23rd-27th, giving students in grades K-6 the opportunity to paint their own personal designs in a sectioned-off portion of the center’s windows. Most students opted to paint seasonally-themed images, though some decided to go for more traditional renderings such as the American flag. Three winners from each grade were selected by art teacher Jennifer Pratt and presented with prizes from McDonald’s.

The event is organized each year by the Xi Alpha Beta chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, an international sorority with over 5,900 chapters worldwide that was first founded in 1931. The Xi Alpha Beta chapter is based in Woodland, as are many of its members. The art supplies for the event are provided by Woodland Elementary School. The three winners from each grade are given ribbons and coupons to McDonald’s. 

The event is important, according to Xi Alpha Beta Treasurer Betty Adams, because “the kids love it. I don’t think we could give it up.” Adams said that it is particularly enjoyable when the parents come out to spend the time with their children. “It’s a family thing.”

“It’s fun because a lot of the parents come out, and they’ve done it themselves when they were younger,” added Jo Gallant, a community member that volunteers with the project each year. “They say to their children, ‘I used to paint right here.’”

The parents and family members also enjoy the fun. “We come out every year,” said Linda Culleton. “I tell you, anything that helps keep the children off the street and safe is good. And they’re starting to come up with a lot more programs at the school.” Culleton, who comes from a big city herself, said that resources don’t need to be a limitation. “Even a small community can have these kind of events when everybody gets together.”

The paintings will remain up at Woodland Shopping Center through the first week of November.