Brame Middle School art teacher helps a student overcome obstacles he has had all his life. | Photo Credit: Allison Bazzle / KALB
Gatson is a sixth-grade student at Brame Middle School. On the first day of school, he was given his choice of extracurriculars and picked art. The choice surprised teachers because he was born blind. Every artist needs their muse and for Gatson, that’s Mrs. Holt.
“I spent a lot of time researching and really thinking through every art project that I did,” said Denyse Holt.
Holt was nervous to teach him, but also determined.
“My main goal was to have him do the same experiences as we were doing, doing the same artwork we were doing,” Holt said. “But doing it his way.”
She adds a twist to his lessons with textures.
“Like the blue color, she will put rice in it so I know it is blue,” Gatson said. “And another color, red, she will put beans in it.”
She also incorporates scents.
“We will use scented markers as colors,” Holt said. “He will take the top off and I’ll say well what color do you think that is, what does it smell like? It smells like grapes, so that is your purple.”
“Like when there is a video playing and then when they are showing pictures,” Gatson said. “She describes the pictures to me.”
Art has become Gatson’s favorite class.
“He’s told us that this is the first time he’s ever been able to experience color and that is tremendous,” said Principal Mollie Fontenot. “We take those things for granted. He is experiencing that here for the first time.”
The main reason is his favorite teacher.
“Mrs. Holt,” Gatson said.
But, the biggest rewards for Holt have been his smiles and positive attitude towards the projects.
“There just aren’t any words at all,” Holt said. “That really is the goal of this art class to open up everyone’s eyes. To see art in a new way, a relatable way, and something that they can do. And he can do it.”
Most of all the class has made him see his abilities in a new light.
“I’m very proud,” Gatson said holding his artwork. “I want to keep them when I grow up and show them to my kids.”