WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Jessica Johnson has always been a lover of art. It’s what lead her to teach art classes at Hirschi High School.

“We’ve done a lot of things around Hirschi to kind of promote Black History Month, and this is just one of the things that we have up in the hallway to kind of let the students get a feel of Black History Month,” Johnson said.

As an art teacher, Johnson said it’s her duty to expose her students to art history and to be sure that black artists and their work are a part of that story as well, which is what led her to assign a special Black History Month project.

“I gave them a list of black artists that they could choose from, and they chose which one,” Johnson said. “They got to go through the whole thing, research and pick which one that they really wanted to gear their art to and to create something inspired by that artist.”

Taking that inspiration and expressing it in their own art is something Johnson’s students said has made them appreciate their history even more.

“When I think of Black History, I think about the appreciation and acknowledgment of the Black culture and how it’s gotten us to where we are today and how our ancestors helped us get here now,” student Taniyah Perry said.

“For the students to learn more about their history and kind of get a feel of their background and where they come from and have appreciation and understand who paved the way for them,” Johnson said.

The best part about these art pieces is that they won’t only be displayed in the hallways of Hirschi, but, thanks to the Wichita Falls Art Association, these students are getting their own art exhibition that will run through the entire month.

“Everyone has, like, different art styles, and I feel like it’s important to express yourself in different ways, and Ms. Johnson really helped us in expressing ourselves,” student Nidia Rodriguez said.

It’s an experience Johnson said she hopes they never forget.

“It gives me inspiration to keep striving and doing the best I can – if it’s out in the community or out in the classroom and to give me that fire within myself and in my students to keep striving to be the very best that they can be in whatever walk of life they choose to do,” Johnson said.

The art exhibition will be taking place this Saturday, February 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. at 600 Eighth Street right across from the Farmers Market.

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