Thanks to the Garden Club of the Halifax County, economically disadvantaged students had a chance to explore a place that was close to home, but out of reach.
"Look at that swirl," 8-year-old Alivea Nelson-Romain said as she lifted her paint brush into the air.
"Oh wow," Hayden Key, 8, leaned in. "Don't use it. It looks like that seashell we saw."
Despite opposition from her peers, Nelson-Romain decided the color was meant to be on her small canvas.
She, along with the rest of her classmates from Debra Halter's third-grade class, were creating art based off of things they saw during their walk in the gardens at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum. Led by Master Gardener Janett Taylor, the tour explored all the flora and fauna April 13 with students at Osceola Elementary School as a part of the Garden Club of the Halifax Country's Nature Art Box program.
"Most of the children have never been to the gardens," said Sang Roberson of the club, "even though it's just two blocks from where they go to school."
Osceola Elementary is a Title 1 school, meaning most of the children come from low-income families where both parents have to work to make ends meet. Roberson said she hopes that when the parents learn the gardens are free, it will encourage them to make time to come out here with their families.
"We think just taking a walk can make the kids stop, look and appreciate where they live," she said. And from overhearing a few of the students' conversations, that goals seems to have been achieved.
"I'm trying to paint the waterfall and the moss on the rocks," Key said, hovered over her painting. "It just looked so pretty, and..."
"Interesting," Nelson-Romain finished her sentence.
"Yeah, interesting," Key agreed. "And beautiful, pretty, sophisticated, whatever all that means."