Edgewater Gallery hosts elementary student art show

MIDDLEBURY — “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
This popular quote by Pablo Picasso reminds us of the strength in imagination and the innate creativity of every child. Art education fulfills the important role in our schools of fostering this strength and teaching students the value of the arts and creative thinking. Behind every established artist was once a voice that inspired them to keep on creating and to build upon their artistic skills.
Edgewater Gallery is hosting an exhibit of Addison County elementary school student art. The students were asked to repurpose exhibit announcement postcards to create a poster with the theme “The Importance of Arts in the Community.” Using these postcards in a collage-like style, on paper no larger than 12- by 18-inches, the students could include any other art materials of their choice.
Students from Orwell, Ripton, Salisbury and Weybridge, across seven different grades, worked to create original and unique pieces. Many of the younger students chose to use images of hands to represent working together. Others chose popular Vermont scenes such as barns, covered bridges and red clovers.
Jessica Perkins, an Art Educator at Orwell Village School and Edgewater Gallery Associate, stepped forward with enthusiasm to organize the contest and art exhibit. She found that her fifth- and sixth-grade students were up for the challenge.
“After discussing the importance of art in our community, my students were thrilled to hear that their artwork would be hung in a ‘real live gallery space.’ The competition aspect of the poster creations inspired them to think outside of the box so that their poster would stand out among the other young artists’ work. As an Art Educator it is this kind of innovative and creative thinking that I work to engage my students in, as it is a cognitive process that better prepares them for the future of this ever-changing world.”
Christine Jenkins, Art Educator at Salisbury Community School and Ripton Elementary, had 75 student art pieces created. She worked with grades K-2 at both locations.
“My students were excited to be in an art show and really took off with this project, cutting out little pieces to collage or tracing their whole hand. They are really looking forward to seeing their work hung at the gallery.”
Sarah Flinn also found a way for her third- and fourth-grade students at Weybridge Elementary to participate in the community arts poster contest. “The students did a stellar job collaborating and stretching their initial thinking.”
One of the participating students shared, “I am super excited to have my artwork hung in a space that supports art in our schools. I hope when people see our artwork we inspire them. The earth is boring without art.”
The posters are on display downstairs at Edgewater Gallery at the Falls located at 1 Mill St., Middlebury, from Feb. 15-26. There will be a reception for the students, their families and the community on Saturday, Feb. 18 from 4-6 p.m. Edgewater will announce the winners of the competition during the reception and prizes will be awarded.

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