For the first time in its history, the Anna Bier Gallery is featuring art by local elementary students; the exhibit opens on Sunday, February 18 with an Open House and Awards Ceremony from 12 to 2 p.m. The breathtaking array of work that adorns the gallery walls evokes many thoughts and emotions, but the most memorable take-away one gains is joyous amazement at the creativity exhibited by our talented children. What follows is a woefully incomplete highlighting of the plethora of joy and beauty hanging on the Gallery walls.
Kindergarten: Lucas Gillespie, Maddie Cochran, Lily Stewart, Keagan Wion, and Emily Thomas each created their own versions of colorful cutout paper “Mice;” the adorable rodents with pink ears and black squiggly tails mounted on a multi-colored crayoned background will bring smiles to viewers of all ages. Students assigned to “Make Your Own Monster,” Caden Jones, Alex Elliott, and Ainsley King, each bring a delightfully unique perspective to their subject. Quinn Parin’s charming “Winter Penguin” shows the black and white paper cutout of the featured subject jauntily sporting a striped scarf and earmuffs amid swirling sequins and sparkling snowflakes.
First Grade: Amazing works by Aiden Ogden, Kaidlen Brewer, Michelle Jenora, Lydia Force, Amara Brewer, and Payton Fourman were inspired by Monet’s Garden; some are delicate, others primitive, and yet others impressionistic, but each captures the essence of the bridge at Giverny and its lush surroundings. The “Scarecrows” done by Lucas Shoop and Callie Zwiesler take on unique masculine and feminine aspects respectively, Lucas choosing brilliant colors and Callie picking lovely pastels in depicting their subjects. Isabel Grisez’s striking “Fall Leaf Print” shows a shower of white-veined leaves imprinted on black paper against a sponge-painted background in brilliant fall colors. Works bringing to mind the output of classic artists include “Pig Nose” by Ben Weigand which looks as though it was inspired by Picasso, and Leah Tamplin’s “Grandma” that could be an early Matisse.
Second Grade: Students depicting a diverse array of interesting flowers in unique settings include Scarlet McNulty, Marion Winterrowd, Tara Segar, Evan Klosterman, Parker Feldner, and Nola Miley. “Fall Design” by Monica Evers has vibrantly colored and intricately etched paper cutouts artfully placed on a blue background to beautifully evoke autumn. Hudson Pierre and Cullen Schmidt also took on the subject of “Scarecrows,” offering more complex and advanced features than those of their younger schoolmates; their classmate Dylan Jones’ impressive “Line Drawing of a Turtle” is extremely detailed and intricately decorated. Damian Coppess, Allie Leensvaart, Dylan Sypott, Leah Force, Brooklyn Proffitt and Jayven Keaser each use unexpected hues to depict “Fall’s Vibrant Colors,” creating a diversified collection of falling leaves.
Third Grade: Brady Phlipot’s “Fall Leaves” skillfully uses traditional colors on a rainbow-hued background to create an appealing autumn-themed design. More Monet influences can be seen in similar yet distinctly disparate works created by Daniel Kerns, Cloe Shuttleworth, and Ivy Henne, while their classmate Mack Legenzolf’s lovely “Sunset Beach” easily evokes the sense of being on the beach at sunset. The many perspectives of Nevan Miley’s “Wacky Face” can be contemplated for some time, offering differing insights into the work. Anna Cox has created “Hummingbird Lunch” a richly detailed black and white print showing the little bird of the title enjoying a bounty of blossoms.
Fourth Grade: Vera Cox has drawn “Rudy Turnstone,” a fascinating pen and ink bird bedecked with complex designs. Lauren Prenger’s captivating “Day of the Dead—Skeleton Personality” depicts a blonde-tressed skull wearing jaunty peace sign earrings, while “Farm Perspective Painting” by Katey Little shows a pleasant rural scene featuring a fall harvest and a red barn under a bright yellow sun.
Fifth Grade: Madelyn Knapke has rendered the striking “Winter Silhouette,” a bare tree standing in a field of white under a brilliant sky. Tessa Beatty’s realistic drawing of a quaint dwelling, arched bridge, and willowy tree somehow evokes nostalgia for the place, even though one has never visited it.
Sixth Grade: Tucker Miller’s “Paul Klee Tree” appropriately uses a grid format, geometric forms, and a wide variety of color to create an alluringly modern work, while Savannah Lingo’s “Grandma Moses Farm” uses the same components to form a timeless scene featuring a quilt-like foreground. “Interior/Exterior Home for Refugees” by Sadie Lance invites thoughtful conjecture; a welcoming “Hi!” decorates the door to a small, tall-roofed dwelling in the top frame, while a sparsely furnished bedroom is depicted in the works’ bottom half.
Tamera McNulty, Anna Bier Gallery Director, says that she believes children must understand the value of art in their lives and hopes that an annual Elementary Art Exhibit will help motivate youngsters to pursue artistic goals. Tamera believes that children’s art comes from a pure perspective without any inhibitions, bringing authenticity to their creations. “This is where it all begins,” Tamera said; “and I want youngsters to learn where art can take you.”
The Anna Bier Gallery, located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment. The Elementary Art Exhibit will continue through Thursday, March 29; for more information, or to arrange a tour at other times, contact Anna Bier Gallery Director Tamera McNulty at 937-564-5863.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.