By Faye Vergara
“Las Vegas or bust” was the theme for Springville, Timpview, Spanish Fork, and South Summit high school students going to Las Vegas for two art exhibits.
One hundred one students, parents and friends involved in the awaited trip left the Museum of Art museum in Springville at 8 a.m., Tuesday morning Jan. 21, despite a ruling by the area education board that at trip to Vegas would not be appropriate for students.
Earlier in the month, the Russian and Art History classes at Springville high school decided to go to the exhibit “Art Through the Ages: Masterpieces of Painting From the Titian to Picasso” at the Bellagio Hotel, and another exhibit at the Venitian Hotel Casino.
However, when the idea of the trip to Las Vegas came into the hands of the members on the education board, 3 of 5 board members voted not to allow students to go.
Parents and students soon became involved and with the help of the community, raised $1,000 to charter buses and go to Las Vegas without the help of the school.
“It was a community effort and students from at least five different high schools participated, as well as students from junior high schools and elementary schools,” said Bez Burdett, a Russian teacher at Springville high school.
Paul McSweeny, a parent of two of the students involved in the Russian class, was at the head of the group that rallied community support.
“They enjoyed it. They had an up close and personal with Van Gogh and other artists,” McSweeny said. “Watching them and how they were really interested in it, that was the justification with all of this.”
Students got to see art pieces from Picasso, Chagall, and other famous artists. Works by the nineteenth-century goldsmith Carl Faberge, including his elegant eggs, jewelry and religious icons were also found in the hotel.
“My belief is that most of what we do in the classroom is not well-remembered by the students. The things that students remember are the things that we take them out of the classroom to do,” Burdett said. “It was definitely a educational experience that will be remembered.”
The students spent all day in Las Vegas at the art exhibits and after eating at local fast-food restaurants, returned to Springville at 4 a.m., Wednesday.
“It was fun,” McSweeny said. “I”d do it again in a heartbeat.”