MHS glass art program closer to reality after benefit dinner April 4

Monday, April 13, 2009
Glass art pieces, including work by local artists, on display prior to silent and live auctions Saturday, April 4, at J. Huston Tavern in Arrow Rock. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)

The proposed Marshall High School glass art program took a leap towards becoming reality Saturday, April 4, when a benefit dinner in Arrow Rock brought in more than $11,000 in ticket sales and proceeds from art auctions.

MHS art teacher and glass artist Shawn Harris, the leader of the effort to raise enough money to build a glass art studio and develop programs to teach the craft, said he was happy with the result of the benefit.

"I feel the dinner and auction were very successful," he said. More than 85 percent of the available tickets for the event were sold, and auctions of donated artwork brought in additional revenue.

Marshall High School art teacher Shawn Harris talks with art patrons during the benefit dinner April 4. Harris is working to raise about $77,000 needed to build a glass art studio at MHS, which would make it the first high school in the state to host its own glass art program. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)

"We had a great attendance, excellent food and fantastic art," Harris said. "Everyone had a great time."

The program listed 39 contributors to the project, including cash and in-kind donations.

About $66,000 has been pledged or collected at this point, according to Harris, putting the project about $11,000 shy of the amount needed to build a facility.

The $77,000 estimate of construction costs is based on consultation with contractors last summer, Harris said. He plans to meet with district administrators and discuss the next step in the process.

"My goal is to get the construction started this summer," he said, but noted that construction won't proceed until enough money has been raised to cover the cost.

The school board has expressed support for the project, but because of tight budgets this year and next, the board has not committed any money for development of the facility.

Harris pledged to raise the needed money.

"The district has indicated to me that nothing will be done until every needed penny is collected. I'm crossing my fingers we can do that," Harris said.

He said he expects to organize more fundraisers in the future, though details have not yet been worked out.

Contact Eric Crump at

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  • YeeHaw does anybody tell you what to do with your money? Look at your tax statements we all pay into the schools even if we have no kids going to them.

    -- Posted by lovesbacon on Mon, Apr 13, 2009, at 11:50 PM
  • As I respect the viewpoints of all parties, I don't believe anyone is forcing individuals to pay for this glass program against their will. As it has been stated by Eric in his articles, the school is not putting any money into this program. Thus the tax dollars that we so hate to let loose of are not going into this program.

    Hence the reason why Mr. Harris is hitting the streets soliciting pledges and putting on fundraisers. That's the inspirational part of this story. Here is an individual teacher and he has a dream that will benefit our students and others in the community. And he is out their on his own generating support from the community to get the job done without the financial aid of the school district. See, the wonderful thing about a fundraiser or a charity or any cause, is that you have a choice to give or not to give. You can choose to give to the cancer center, or you can choose to give to the glass program, or you can choose to support a swim program or you can choose to support a YMCA. It's your choice and no one will begrudge if you if you decline to support programs that increases a child's education or improves a community or makes positive connections between people.

    This is a wonderful program that is getting off the ground. Anyone who wishes to support it is encouraged to do so. Anyone who chooses not to, is welcome to make that choice.

    -- Posted by Greg House on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 8:42 PM
  • I think its a wonderful chance at greatness. Very few schools actually have blown glass programs... most of them are at the college level. Way to go Mr. Harris! Keep at it!

    -- Posted by Angelicfly on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 9:36 PM
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