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Art comes in all shapes, sizes, and ages

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Youth ART123 showcases young artists downtown

Students from Gallup and the surrounding area got the chance to display their unique forms of artwork at YouthART123 at the Artscrawl in Gallup March 9. The art show was held at Gallup ART123 to showcase schools such as Lincoln Elementary, Hozho Academy, and Mariano Lake Community School to name a few. Future artists consisted of children from kindergarten to high school with their own style of expression. Art teachers were on hand to talk about the forms of art their students were working on.

Psyche Reed, eighth grade teacher at Crownpoint Middle School, normally teaches welding, but decided to teach art this year. Reed was quite pleased with her students and the paintings they did for the event. Her students experimented with “Expressive Portraits” in which students start with a grid and then distort it, in turn giving the students’ pictures a distorted look. Pictures were of faces done in crayon and pencil.

“It’s been interesting and a lot of fun for the students and they really enjoyed it,” she adds. “They also did perspective drawings, which included different stages of the student’s pictures, overlapping, to understand techniques, and depths in their artwork.”

Kelly Sari, of Tohatchi High School, answered questions of interested onlookers about  student paintings from the middle and high schools. She spoke of the middle school which has an art club being taught by Melissa Novak, who helps students wishing to go on to careers in art. Sari’s high school students work a lot in glazing, print-making, and starting a film in digital media paid for by the Carl Perkins Grant. Each student got the chance to use a camera. Sari says she was blown away by the talent of her students.

“I really can’t believe how talented these students are,” she said. “When looking at these pictures, I can’t believe they took these, how they can make beauty out of them.”

Jalal Quinn, who teaches kindergarten to fifth grade at Lincoln Elementary, spoke of how art can not only stimulate a child’s mind, but can also help in other areas of the child’s learning years. She says art makes the brain stronger and the mind stronger. When children in elementary school have art or music, their testing scores  generally increase by as much as ten percent. Art teaches them observation, it teaches analysis.

One child in her class was given an assignment to draw a horned toad. The student drew the toad and added a background to camouflage the toad. According to Quinn, the student looked at the color of the horned toad and drew the background to conceal the toad. Quinn says the student paid attention to the colors and incorporated both, mixing a balance between them.

“The student entitled the painting “Camouflage.” With a painting such as this you have to pay attention to the balance of the brown, purple, and different colors. You’re getting a kind of balance and composition that can carry over to math, English composition, and that requires a lot of thinking. When the kids are asked to draw a mountain, they have to decide if a mountain is tall and how tall will another mountain be, so there’s a lot of thinking in every single picture.”

Students at Lincoln attend art twice a week, one week, and the following week, three times a week. The students are given common core subjects and the basic standards of art. They do a lot of fundamental shapes and relationships between those shapes.

Paintings from the students reflected this as surprised art goers commented on this such as T. Boney of Gallup. “It’s different and really cool, a lot of talented kids here in the area, usually it’s older people’s paintings you see here, so this is nice for a change.”

Several students from Navajo Elementary displayed their artwork with 5x7 works of stitching, patterns that were sewn into fabric. The needlework consisted of rainbows, houses, and people. Students had the chance to sell their artwork with prices ranging from $5 to $20.

For more information on the happenings going on at ART123 visit FB@art123Gallery or visit www.galluparts.org

By Dee Velasco
For the Sun