By Nancy Bowman
Megan Powell hopes the students who elect to take her semester- long ceramics course at Bethel High School “find a mode of artmaking that really speaks to their souls.”
Powell is the creator of the program in its first year of availability for students in grades nine-12.
She came to the Bethel schools in August 2022, previously teaching at Beavercreek High School.
“My hope for this program is to provide my students with a space where they can explore the artistic possibilities of clay and create something lasting and meaningful,” Powell said.
During the semester, the students will learn about traditional hand-building and wheel throwing techniques, she said. “While the students love building structures with their hands, I find they most enjoy the challenge of throwing their own vessels on the wheel.”
The ceramics program is funded with a $3,778 grant Powell sought from the Tipp City Foundation. “Without it, I would not be able to offer this amazing opportunity to my students. With the generous support from the Tipp Foundation, I was able to purchase clay, glazes, tools and a pottery wheel! What an amazing contribution to the Bethel Local School district,” she said.
She was encouraged by the school principal to seek the foundation support.
The grant was made from the Bethel Arts Fund, which was established in 2014 by sisters Barbara Bailey and Sonia Ewald. The fund is a tribute to their parents Emmert and Jane Studebaker.
Powell said art has been in her life since a very young age. She recalled spending summer afternoons at her grandparents where she would scribble with crayons on paper at their kitchen table. In high school, she fell in love with film photography spending countless hours in a darkroom. It was in college where she discovered a love of ceramics.
“I was required to take several ceramics and sculpture classes for my degree and really learned to love the material. There’s something so magical about the tangibility of working with the Earth,” she said.
Powell is a graduate of Kettering Fairmont High School and holds degrees in studio art from The Ohio State University and a master of science in education from the University of Dayton. She, her husband and two children live in Dayton.
She said she enjoys teaching at Bethel and leading the ceramics course.
“It is such an honor and privilege to guide the young minds of Bethel High School in their artistic journey and I can’t wait to see what fabulous creations that come out of our new ceramics program,” Powell said.
She invited anyone in the community interested in seeing the students’ creations, to attend the annual student art show scheduled for 5-7 p.m. March 7 at Bethel High School.
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