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‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ introduces kids to art

Highlands Elementary School seeks to launch new program

Posted: November 8, 2013 5:25 p.m.
Updated: November 8, 2013 5:25 p.m.

Todd White teaches Highlands Elementary School students how to draw "SpongeBob SquarePants" during an art presentation Friday.

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Giggling children sketched and redrew their own versions of the “SpongeBob SquarePants” characters Friday as Todd White, an original lead character designer for the animated show, coached them on.

During a special art assembly at Highlands Elementary School, White demonstrated step-by-step how to draw the famous characters on a projector, signed autographs on the children’s personal drawings, and donated a cart full of art supples to the school.

“It’s a celebration of art,” Principal Paul Martinsen said of the assembly.

The school lacks an art program, so it hosted White on Friday to teach the importance of art to students in transitional kindergarten through second grade, Martinsen said.

“My goal in donating the art supplies is to show them that they can go down the creative path,” White said. “It’s good for them.”

Hired by Nickelodean in 1998, White worked on the “SpongeBob SquarePants” pilot and as a lead character designer for the first five seasons. He was invited to the school by long-time friend Lindsey Clark, a parent and chairwoman on Highland’s Parent Faculty Organization.

Mindy Peacock, president of Highland’s PFO, hopes that by January Highlands can initiate an art program through donations and fundraising efforts.

“All of our parents are on board,” Peacock said. “It’s just a matter of ‘Let’s get it funded’ and ‘Let’s get it in our classes.’”

The new program would teach current teachers basic arts skills they can pass on to students.

Lack of art programs in schools shocked White.

“It kind of took me aback that we live in a society now that is so driven by creative thinking such as Facebook, the Internet, Twitter, video games — the largest money-making things in the world are all creative-driven — yet creative is driven out of schools early on,” he said.



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