Laney helps craft solutions to childhood hunger
by Mark Andrews
Aug 26, 2013 | 2728 views | 0 0 comments | 57 57 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jayme Laney is an art teacher at White Elementary School and active in the Bartow art community. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Jayme Laney is an art teacher at White Elementary School and active in the Bartow art community. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Teacher, coach, artist and volunteer — these are just a few of the roles taken by Adairsville’s Jayme Laney. Gearing up for the annual Empty Bowls fundraising event, to be held Sunday, Sept. 29, Laney has used his artistic talents and interest in helping hungry children in Bartow County.

“We’re looking forward to our third annual Empty Bowls event; it’s going to be at the [Cartersville] Civic Center as it was last year,” Laney said of the event, which, by selling handcrafted bowls filled with soup from local restaurants, helps fund the BackPack Buddies supplemental weekend feeding program.

“Empty Bowls originated in the early 1990s in Michigan. I learned about the Empty Bowls Project from a Lesley University professor in 2005,” Laney said, adding he was “finally moved to action” in 2010. “... Planning and team-building followed. Our first Bartow Empty Bowls Project was a sellout event raising over $6,000 in 2011.”

He continued, “The success of the event is because of the teamwork among concerned citizens of our community. I simply shared the vision of the project. The people involved made all the difference in the success of the event.”

For more on next month’s event, read future editions of The Daily Tribune News.

Name: Jayme Laney

Age: 43

Occupations/titles: Art teacher, soccer coach, potter and adjunct professor

Family: Kristy Laney is my wife (18 years). We have two children, Hensley, 14, and Hayden, 9.

Education: AA from Reinhardt College, BFA from LaGrange College, BEd. from Kennesaw State University, MEd. from Lesley University

City of residence: Adairsville

How long have you been teaching art in Bartow County and what inspired you to become an art teacher?

A: I have enjoyed teaching art to White Elementary students for 19 years. I have always enjoyed art. However, I never dreamed of being a teacher. My parents were both in education. They encouraged me to become an educator. As a child, I was at school before everyone else, and we were usually the last to leave. Therefore, I did not think teaching would be a career choice for me. My mother was the driving force behind my decision to teach. She said I was a natural. I thought she was just biased. She signed me up for education classes when I did not want to take them and asked me to take the Teacher Certification Test in Art for teaching K-12. I did not pass it the first time which motivated me to prove to myself that I was not a failure. On the second attempt, I passed. I am not going to boast my score, but let’s just say I passed.

How long have you been coaching soccer and how did you go about coming into the position of a soccer coach?

A: I fell in love with the greatest game on Earth during my first soccer game in 1976 at the age of 6. Coach Roger Lowe coached us that year. I wanted to play year-round. However, at that time there was not that much support for year-round soccer. I stopped playing at age 16 because the YMCA in Rome did not have a league for my age group. My middle and high schools did not have soccer teams, and my college got a soccer team after I left. Fast forward many years to when my daughter was 6. She wanted to play, so I began coaching. I have coached for Bartow Rec, Adairsville High, Cass Middle and Clash.

Empty Bowls has been a growing success. What do you feel sets Bartow County apart in terms of reaching out to children in need?

A: We have 10 local restaurants willing to donate food for the event. We have potters from all around willing to make and donate hand-crafted bowls. However, the real key to the smooth-running sellout event is the people. Our team is able to enthusiastically handle all aspects of the event from preparation to cleanup. Everyone has had a can-do attitude and eagerness to do their part. The volunteer team is made up of teachers, educational leaders, school board members, students, businessmen and women, churchgoers, ministers and many more.

How do you feel the art community has contributed to helping the children of Bartow County through fundraisers like Empty Bowls?

A: Empty Bowls is a win-win situation. The culinary arts are represented in the local fare provided for the project. It’s kind of a taste of Bartow, if you will. The potters have happily added to their workload by working extra hours and giving extra supplies to the production of the bowls. Art teachers and students have had a great response to the event because it gives art a real life application and purpose that can be valued and measured. When the Empty Bowls Project makes the large donation to BackPack Buddies you can see that we are making a noble effort in the fight against hunger.

Schools across the nation are feeling the economic crunch and as an art teacher I understand you help students channel their creativity while learning the basics. In what ways have you had to channel your own creativity to reach students as funding for both the arts and sciences has decreased?

A: During my career, the school art budget has decreased. However, the level of creativity is increasing.

Many years ago, students could leave my classroom with nice crafts. These were rather expensive cookie-cutter projects. Now my students have a better understanding of art through focusing on the Elements and Principles of Art. This taught by digging deeper into the questions of “What is Art?”; “What are your opinions about the art and the artist?”; and “Do you understand and appreciate the message of the masterpiece?”

Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?

A: I truly enjoy my home pottery studio, any soccer field, The Bridge Church and Allatoona Lake. A better answer may be “anywhere” in Bartow County. I believe this is a great place to live and work. I am surrounded by friends and family.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

A: Before email, I had asked my principal’s advice on how to solve a problem I was having in class. Dr. Jim Curry wrote a note and put it in my mailbox at school. The note read: “The creative mind of an art teacher should never lack for finding solutions to problems!” I still have that note pinned to the wall in my pottery studio. I reread it often.

Do you have a personal philosophy?

A: You can accomplish a lot if you don’t worry about who gets the credit. — Bill Arnsparger

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” — Matthew 7:12

“The lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinions of the sheep.”

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

A: I once sang a Latin Mass in Carnegie Hall in New York City while I was in the college choir.