Curry student selected as grand prize winner
by Special to the Eagle
Feb 27, 2011 | 1956 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jersey Morrison, a second-grade student at Curry Elementary School, holds her artwork which recently won grand prize at the Helen Keller Art Show. - Photo Special to the Eagle
Jersey Morrison, a second-grade student at Curry Elementary School, holds her artwork which recently won grand prize at the Helen Keller Art Show. - Photo Special to the Eagle
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Jersey Morrison, a 9-year-old second grader at Curry Elementary School, was selected as the grand prize winner at the 2011 Helen Keller Art Show held at the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham.

Her art is titled "Home is Where the Heart Is" and depicts Ivy Green, the home of Helen Keller. It will be permanently displayed in Tuscumbia at the Ivy Green Museum gallery.

The piece was created from a multitude of media, including sheet moss, tempera paint, cardboard, felt, sand paper, popsicle sticks and slick paint.

"Jersey is such a delight to work with because she gets so excited about not only her art work but all phases of her education," said her teacher, Valerie Gathof.

"She is the only student I've ever worked with in this program, and she has set the standard for those students who come behind her. It has been such a pleasure to work with her and see how she has developed over the last few years. I'd love to just take her and keep her always because she is just that special."

Jersey has been tutored along the way by Gathof and her aide, Jean Jordan. They have been instrumental in fostering Jersey as she continues to develop her art talent.

Jersey has been an award winner for each of the past three years and topped it off by winning this year's top award at the art show. She is the first student from Walker County to ever capture this award.

Jersey is the daughter of Chris and Wendy Morrison and has been blind since birth. She enjoys art, music, school, church and participating on the Dream Team T-ball and soccer teams provide by the Jasper Park and Recreation department. She also enjoys playing with her younger siblings, Colby and Paisley.

The Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama is an annual show for the students of Alabama who are visually impaired, blind or deaf-blind. This show is open to students of all ages in Alabama, providing public, private, residential and home school students with an opportunity to showcase special talents and abilities.

The art work is unique with emphasis on creativity, color and tactile media. Each year, the exhibit travels to museums and galleries across the state during the months from February through June.

This year's stops include the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, UAB, Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan, Tennessee Valley Art Center in Tuscumbia and the University of South Alabama Library in Mobile.

The grand prize entry is selected by the Helen Keller Festival board and receives the Patty Johnson Award. The award is dedicated to Patty Johnson, the niece of Helen Keller, whose caring ways, charm and tender words created an atmosphere where this annual art show could flourish.

This award allows Jersey and her family to attend the Helen Keller Festival in the Park at Tuscumbia June 24-26, where she will be the junior grand marshal in the parade and the guest of honor at the play "The Miracle Worker," the amazing story of the life of Helen Keller and her dedicated teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy.

This award is also in recognition of all the teachers across the state of Alabama who give of their time and energy to help develop the many children with special needs, yet who exhibit such amazing talents.

Support for the annual Helen Keller Art of Alabama is provided through the sale of art and through the various sponsors, including The Helen Keller Birthplace Foundation, UAB Vision Science Research Center -- Education and Outreach Module, UAB School of Optometry, UAB Program for Visual Impairments, UAB School of Education -- College of Arts and Sciences, The Eye Sight Foundation of Alabama and the Alabama Federation of the Council for Exceptional Children -- Helen Keller Chapter of the Division on Visual Impairments.