Multi-media artwork created by students who research infectious diseases now hangs on the walls at Sparks Medical Center - Van Buren.

Sixteen students from the Izard Career Center in Van Buren created the artwork through a Center for Art and Education program made available to the Van Buren School District, according to Brent Gunnels, community relations director for CAE.

Mary Jo Brinkman, the facility compliance officer at Sparks - Van Buren, said the artwork will hang in both the hospital’s newly established cafe and radiology department.

Gunnels said the project was part of the art and education program which the art center makes available to the Van Buren School District.

“We place teaching artists in public schools to teach core curriculum through the arts,” he said. “The program is funded by the Arkansas Arts Council.”

Mary Overton of West Fork was the resident artist for the pieces which were hung at Sparks - VB on Wednesday.

The project began with Overton, who has been with the art and education program for 16 years, going into Gail Saifi’s science classes at the Izard Learning Center.

“Mary taught the students about infectious diseases,” Gunnels said. “The students then researched various diseases, learned about where they originated and how they spread.”

Students then created maps to show the spread of disease before created multi-media works of arts based on microscopic images of disease, Gunnels said.

Resident artist Shannon Wurst was at the Izard Campus and King Elementary School this week to teach a workshop on literacy and story writing through music.

Overton will start a mural project at Izard this week where students will research figures from American history, find a quote and do a mural on that person.

Gunnels said the art and education program will be expanded into more schools next year with more cooperation and support from the Van Buren School District.

“We will continue to expand as we make progress toward moving into our new building,” he said.

Center for Art and Education is currently located at 104 N. 13th St. in Van Buren. However, the art center is in the midst of a $5.4 million Imagine Capital Campaign to move to a new location in the 400 block of Main Street.

The Main Street building will serve as the center’s new art education and gallery facility. Plans include the acquisition and development of a half-block area of open-space property behind the building as a landscaped park, sculpture garden and outside events area for the CAE and community.