Visual Arts

McLaughlin is very proud of our "Visual Art Students". Several students received recognition from the Polk County Art Museum in Lakeland. Nick Plante won the Polk County Art Museum Sponsor's $50 Art Award. Nick's digital macro photograph has a piece of Trix cereal on the blacktop pavement and the sun shining in the background. Other students in the "Art Out Loud" competition will receive certificate of achievement. The students who will be recognized are Nayely de la Cruz, Emily Weech, Josh Ayala, Emmanuel Bennett, Albert Larouchelle, Jisel Cortes, Davon Scott, Julisa Felix, Brandon Stephens, Alex Moreno, and Anthony Grardner. Nick Plate's work will become part of the Art exhibit sponsor's personal collection.

2D - Design
Teacher: Ms. Betsy Reeves

  • Graduate of Florida State University (FSU) with a B.F.A. in Visual Art and a B.A. in Art History
  • After an initial career in Global Event Design and 2nd as a jewelry designer in Manhattan, Ms. Reeves is looking forward to the best year ever...her 2nd year teaching at McLaughlin Middle

Ms. Reeves was one of the first students to graduate from Harrison Center for the visual and performing arts. She was a global event planner for 7 years in Manhattan, designing events for clients including Disney, Lancôme, and Conde Nast. In 2003, she started her own jewelry business, Zubie NYC. Weekly volunteering at Free Arts New York revived her love for teaching.Realizing that this was her true passion, Ms. Reeves returned to Florida to instruct art. She is currently teaching 2-D art and is always searching for unique materials andideas for design.

3D - Design
Teacher: Ms. Lauren Gessner

  • Graduate of University of North in Jacksonville in Art Education with a concentration printmaking and mixed media
  • Ms. Gessner is a new transplant to the Polk County area, and her first year at McLaughlin Middle

"A sculpture is just a painting cut out and stood up somewhere." - Frank Stella. I push my students to understand the fundamentals of the elements of art and principals of design. My students are asked to pre-think and draw all of their designs prior to pushing it into the third dimension. Not only are we sculptures but we are also installation artists. I teach my students to use their art to enliven spaces not just decorate them. Students in the 3D art program will receive instruction on constructing, carving, molding, and ceramics basics.

Graphics Arts
Teacher: Mrs. Josette Twait

  • Graduate of University of North Carolina with a Bachelor's in Visual Art and a Master's of Science in Art Education from Illinois State University
  • Completed her 10th year of teaching with the last year being at McLaughlin Middle

Mrs. Twait attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts her Junior and Senior year of High School with a concentration in sculpture. After high school she attended the University of NorthCarolina at Fayetteville and completed a degree in Visual Arts with a concentration in printmaking. Upon graduation she moved to Illinois with her husband and attended graduate school at Illinois State University, completing a Master’s in Art Education. This is her tenth yearteaching and every year brings a new challenge and learning experience in the field of education. She is a Veteran of the United States Naval Reserves and the Illinois Army National Guard where she was a mechanic. Mrs. Twait is married and has two children.  Her hobbies include playing herfavorite PC game Civilization by Sid Meyer, reading, and spending  time with her family. She is currently teaching Graphic Arts and is excited to be working with such wonderful students and staff at McLaughlin Middle School!


Fine Arts Academy

Drama / Theater

Perfoming Arts

Visual Arts