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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Cook Elementary’s second grade class had a nationally recognized artist come teach them a new technique when painting. WCBI’s Heather Black was there to capture the many colors.

William Heard has been in a wheelchair for the past twelve years.

“I was in a car accident in March of 2000 and one of the activities I could do while I was recovering was painting,” says William Heard.

As William began to paint he realized the technique he was using was not going to work for him.

“I started using a paint brush that was taped around my wrist and I painted ceramics and canvases. I got a little frustrated with it. I really couldn’t control the paint brush how I wanted to,” says Heard.

“Then one late night I saw this movie about Jackson Pollock who painted using paint brushes slinging the paint onto the canvas so I put a styrophome ball on the end of the spoon and I grasp the ball and I use that to control the spoon to drip paint,” says Heard.

William gets his inspiration for his work from nature and by studying other artists. He hopes he can pass the same passion onto the the students.

“I want to teach them about art, abstract art that there are no mistakes in art. It doesn’t matter what it looks like what you paint you can’t make mistakes,” says Heard.

“Students here at Cook have an advantage of actual having art specialists show them expose them to these arts techniques that they may not ever see in their lifetime. If they were not exposed to it at school,” says Heather Rowland.

Not only are students excited to learn new things grades are showing improvement as well.

“Our test scores are going up. But even more so than that we are having students who are excited I come to school who cannot wait to see what they are going to be doing next. So to me that’s a really wonderful education,” says Rowland.

Artists like William are able to come to Cook Elementary thanks to the Whole schools Grant through the Mississippi Art Commission.

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