By Lee Weyhrich
PINSON — Palmerdale Homesteads Community Center President Barry Wilson last week presented a check for $7,300 to Pinson Valley High School visual arts teacher Chris Screws to help fund the art department at the school.
The money came from funds raised by Insanitarium, a Halloween attraction put on by PHCC each year. A portion of the funds raised goes to the art program, a portion to the city of Pinson, a portion to the high school and the rest is used by PHCC for building improvements.
Wilson said 2014 was the best year ever for the event, and the money raised goes a long way toward funding art programs in Pinson.
“I think it really helps the art department, and our art department is really one of the best in the county now,” Wilson said.
According to Screws, thanks largely to the generosity of PHCC, the art department at Pinson Valley High School is one of the best funded in the county as well. The extra funding is used to support and expand existing programs, help students who couldn’t otherwise afford the dues for the art program, and buy technology to help teach photography and Photoshop.
This school year, the art department started a class that allowed students to learn about and design special effects, such as makeup for scary monsters, prop making, the molding for mask making, and costume and set design.
Screws said he’s only found one school in the United States — in Ohio — offering a class that comes close to this one. There could be others, but he hasn’t found them.
“As far as I know, we are now the second of this kind of class in the United States,” he said in July 2014.
The Insanitarium raised ,386 for the art department last year.
Gary Lloyd contributed to this story.