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Sandy Journal

Brookwood’s art-a-palooza most successful ever, despite different approach

Apr 03, 2022 06:36PM ● By Julie Slama

West Haradin and his daughter, Haylee, look over Brookwood’s silent auction items at the school’s 11th art-a-palooza. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Brookwood third-grader Haylee Haradin was excited at the possibility of attending a jump rope and pizza party. It was an experience the third-grade teachers created allowing families to purchase tickets for their children to attend as part of the fundraising part of the elementary school’s art-a-palooza tradition.

Art-a-palooza is designed to provide families an opportunity to spend time together and support the school and the arts, although this year, after a one-year absence, it looked a little different, said organizer Abby Pohlman.

“We started planning in January and the (COVID-19) cases were so high that we didn’t feel it was good to start promoting an event where we would have 500-700 people gathering at a school so we switched gears a little bit,” she said.

Instead of having teachers oversee interactive art opportunities for students, the event was held in conjunction with parent-teacher conferences. That way, Pohlman said there was a constant flow of families, but not large congregations. There was an art stroll where families could see students’ artwork posted on bulletin boards and also check out their glow-in-the-dark art exhibit.

Also on display were silent auction baskets, which they could bid for online, as well as come in to purchase tickets for teacher experiences or purchase cookies or homemade bread.

“Our goal was $10,000 and after all the expenses were taken out, we were over $17,100,” Pohlman said about the funds that are earmarked to offer enhanced student activities such as Math Olympiad, debate, hands-on science activities and field trips. “I think the online component really helped since other family members from different locations could participate and teachers as well, since they are usually busy at the art tables.”

She also said the anonymous bidding also allowed an increase of $2,000 during the last few minutes of the auction.

“It was different (than in person) because you could bid $5 more and you weren’t standing next to someone and feel bad about outbidding them, so you could feel like you could bid higher rates,” Pohlman said, which ultimately supports the school even more.

Haylee’s parents are supporters of art-a-palooza and other school activities.

“This school is so fun and wonderful,” her father, West, said as his wife, Holly, bid on a family paint night. “It’s a great neighborhood and we’re here to support it. We love it here as all the parents care and contribute and volunteer and the teachers are awesome and the principal listens and is attentive. It’s just a really good feeling to come into this school.”

Brookwood’s last art-a-palooza was held in 2020, the night before the school and school district  closed in response to safety and health protocols surrounding COVID-19. Pohlman said there was some concern that families who hadn’t known the 11-year event previously wouldn’t be supportive.

“We were a little worried that because it had been two full years and we’ve had a lot of new families come in that parents wouldn’t know what it was so we had to re-educate parents,” Pohlman said. “We definitely missed that component of the teachers being here and doing art activities for the kids, but I think this year, we just needed a new set of eyes on the event. I’ve done it for so many years that I didn’t want to reinvent it, but I was forced to in a way and it was a great success. We earned more money than ever before, and the community still supported the event, so change is good. We’ve learned in the past couple of years that doing things different can be OK.”