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Exhibit showcases students' artwork
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About 300 people attended a reception Monday for an exhibit that highlights the artwork of students in the Henry County Schools. At left, visitors are seen with exhibited artwork during the event at the County Administration Building.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

A graphite drawing of a girl looking cross-eyed at the lady bug on the bridge of her nose was getting some attention Monday night.

The occasion was Henry County Public Schools’ reception honoring students whose artwork is on display at the County Administration Building. An estimated 300 or more people attended.

“That’s really original, putting a lady bug on her nose, and she’s looking cross-eyed,” said Myrna Ferguson as she looked at the drawing by Seraina Dailey, a ninth-grader at Magna Vista High School.

“I think it’s very nice,” added Myrna’s husband, Allen Ferguson.

The Fergusons were browsing through the hundreds of pieces of students’ artwork on display, but the main reason they were there was to see their granddaughter Madison Ross’ paper art of a bluebird, elephant and duck.

Madison is a fifth-grade student at John Redd Smith Elementary School.

Deanna Sowder, a fifth-grader at Sanville Elementary, drew a dragon’s head and neck and the word “Beastly” in her artwork. She said the dragon “is roaring like it’s mad.”

Deanna said she enjoys using pastels and finds them easier to use than crayons “because you can use your thumb.”

Her art teacher, Joshua Kendall, said she “desperately wanted to do a dragon.”

“I really like the artistry they are teaching her,” said Deanna’s mom, Michelle Sowder. “Without art in the schools she would have no (art) skills. I have none,” she added.

In her artwork, DiYana Hairston, a fourth-grader at John Redd Smith Elementary, created overlapping circles in her favorite colors — pink, purple and blue — and various shades of those colors.

“That’s my favorite class,” DiYana said of art class. She added she likes coloring, cutting and painting.

“It’s opening her mind to be more creative. She really enjoys art,” said DiYana’s mother, Latanya Wright. She added, “This is the third time her art has been selected” for the exhibition.

“She’s always been artistic since the day she could hold a pencil,” said Reginia Wright, DiYana’s grandmother.

Samuel Aboytes, a student at Carver Elementary School, did a watercolor of a tiger getting ready to box.

“I like tigers and UFC fighting,” he said.

Samuel said he likes art. “I like that you can make whatever you want in so many ways,” he said.

“His drawings have an expression — action or feelings,” said Samuel’s mother, Ninett Perez. She added she thinks art helps Samuel with concentration.

Stanleytown Elementary School teachers Michele Jones-Mays and Jamie Earnest said even though they don’t teach art, they came to support Stanleytown Elementary students who have art on display.

“It’s beautiful. It’s incredible what they have done,” Jones-Mays said of artwork on display from all the K-12 schools.

“It shows the hard work students have put into it, and teachers,” Earnest added.

In interviews, Kristina Weldin, who teaches art at Bassett High School, and Ann McCormick, who teaches art at Stanleytown and Mt. Olivet elementary schools, explained various techniques and other aspects of art that students used, such as perspective, texture, light/dark, shadows, planes, patterns, color, drawing realistic eyes, and a wide variety of media.

The media included pen and ink, acrylic, graphite, charcoal, marker, collage, water color, pastel, tempura paint, colored pencils, mixed media, tissue, block prints and paper creations, according to Weldin, McCormick and labels on the artwork.

Subjects run the gamut from landscapes to cityscapes, adorable pets to wild animals, various styles of portrait painting or drawing, floral scenes, imaginative displays of color and/or patterns, and much more.

Patrice Newnam, director of testing and instructional services for Henry County Public Schools, said each of the 10 elementary, two middle and two high schools was given two boards on which to display student artwork selected by teachers and administration at each school.

“This evening (Monday) we have invited parents and students to come (to the reception). ... We’re very proud of the work our students are doing,” Newnam said.

The artwork “went up last Wednesday evening” and will be up through Thursday, she said. She estimated about 300 pieces of artwork are displayed.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to showcase their art,” said schools Superintendent Jared Cotton. “We want to provide an audience for them.”

“The students are proud of their work,” Cotton said. “They have been talking to me about what’s on display.”


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