What starts as a young artist's idea and ends in a creative form of colorful, chrome-coated
self-expression will take to the roads at 5:30 p.m. Friday (April 24) for the fifth
Lowrider/Dream Bike Parade on the Texas Tech University Campus.
This year's event will begin in front of the east entrance of the Art Building, located
Street and Flint Avenue. In a parallel project, associate professor of art Will Canning's
sculpture students will exhibit their bicycle-inspired, kinetic artwork. The two groups
met in February and exchanged ideas as the project began.
At the parade, Carol Edwards, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, will
recognize the 16 students from Atkins Junior High School and the 10 undergraduate
visual studies majors for their achievements. Also, she will honor others like the
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, who donated or assisted with this program.
"This outreach project is a reflection of the commitment of the college and the School
of Art in working collaboratively with area institutions to broaden the impact of
Texas Tech in our educational community," Edwards said. "We are proud of our faculty
and students who care deeply about educational opportunities for all of our school
children. Projects such as this one forge relationships and provide solid foundations
for strong community-based programs."
This is the fifth year the School of Art has partnered with a school from the Lubbock
area in presenting an art bike project, and the second year that Atkins Junior High
School has participated, said Future Akins-Tillett, assistant professor in visual
studies. The program serves as a form of community outreach.
Atkins is 79 percent minority, and 78 percent of students come from economically disadvantaged
families. Prior to last year, the school was working to remediate its 2007 School
Accountability Rating of Academically Unacceptable based on Texas Assessment of Knowledge
and Skills (TAKS) scores.
By the end of the project last year, 62 percent of the students that had not been
acceptable in math TAKS had improved to acceptable. Several other students who participated
in last year's lowrider bike program expressed a desire to attend college.
"I think this program works because it is about the students, about their culture
and it is a real project with various stages that have to be completed before the
next step can be taken," Akins-Tillett said. "It is great to have them at Texas Tech,
to encourage them to begin thinking about college and to simply know there are people
here who care about them and respect their heritage and popular culture."
The middle school students began planning their dream bikes in February, and painting
began in April. Through the process, Akins-Tillett said the students learn art and
design, which includes a practical application of physics and math. In addition to
designing, the students work with mentors and attend a bike safety camp and discussed
healthy life styles that focused on nutrition and exercise.
"The mentors have made a huge difference," she said. "They were in the classroom with
the kids from Atkins twice a week, getting to know them, helping them push their ideas,
aiding them in dreaming and believing in their dreams. It is moving to see how hard
the students have worked and how excited they are to finally receive their bikes.
This year, each student from Atkins will have a working bike - a means of transportation
and a way to live a healthier lifestyle."
The program is in cooperation with Atkins art teacher Lyn Brown, and Atkins principal
Huber said he and his staff look forward to the same sort of results this year.
"In addition to supporting the goal of improving student achievement, the project
served to provide our students with role models from diverse backgrounds, experiences
and academic fields of expertise," he said.
The program received a Crystal Award by Texas Association of Partners in Education
for its outstanding work with volunteers and the results achieved by the students.
Later this year, the middle school students will mentor students at Bean Elementary
School discussing their bike project and encouraging the younger students to stay
Find Texas Tech news, experts and story ideas at www.media.ttu.edu.
CONTACT: Todd DeVriese, director, School of Art, Texas Tech University
, (806) 742-3825 ext. 223, or email@example.com
; Future Akins-Tillett, professor of visual studies,
(806) 742-3825 ext. 257, or firstname.lastname@example.org.