Shanel Wright, left, and Lily Moore check out artwork during Celebrate the Arts Day at the Civic Center, Saturday. Mark Wilson Photo
A child’s work of art at the Roswell Convention and Civic Center Saturday stated the spirit of the day’s event best, as it proclaimed: “Welcome to Paulina’s Art Studio.”
With a school year’s-worth of children’s artwork on display and art instructors ready to guide children to create on the spot, the Creative Learning Center hosted the sixth annual Celebrate the Arts Day. Panels that featured children’s artwork from haikus to raku, from flipbooks to watercolors, seemed to share Paulina’s warm invitation to relax and enjoy the art.
“Art is all about expressing yourself,” said 11-year-old Mikaela Graham. The fifth-grader who attends Valley View Elementary got the chance not only to share her flipbook — a book with the drawing of a ball on its pages that, when flipped quickly, makes it look like it’s bouncing — but also her ability to play the recorder, an instrument she proudly keeps in its case, snug in her pocket.
“It’s a really good time for everyone to get together, meet your friends, express yourself, and just hang out,” Graham said of the event.
CLC Director Mona Kirk said the event showcases the art created by Roswell children from kindergarten through sixth-grade. The art was created with the guidance of CLC instructors who visit area schools every week during the school year.
The CLC has 10 teachers, Kirk said, two per grade levels 1-5 so that one may teach performing arts and the other, visual arts. All CLC teachers instruct kindergarten, Kirk said, while sixth-graders produce raku in the Raku-to-Go program.
Raku, or raku ware, is a form of Japanese pottery.
The Celebrate the Arts event was a culmination of the best work produced by students. Even the raku ware created through a partnership with the Roswell Museum and Art Center and the Pecos Valley Potters Guild found a place toward the entrance of the Civic Center’s banquet hall.
“We invite the public to come out … and celebrate the arts,” Kirk said. For third-grade visual arts teacher Steve Ackerman, the day’s event was a way of reiterating the importance of art to young students.
“It’s our day to validate their work, as a visual (and a) performing artist,” he said. Ackerman had helped his students create Roswell-themed sculpture, so that much of their art featured desert wildlife or reflected the area’s lifestyle. He said this challenged children from thinking of art as a purely Eurocentric affair.
“It’s a good lesson to get the students to think of local arts,” Ackerman said. He said the third-grade performing arts instructor, Lisa Moyer, took his idea for sculptures to the next level. She had the students “act out” the idea behind their sculptures.
“They had to think of something the sculpture would say,” Ackerman explained. Moyer worked side-by-side with Ackerman as they led a group of children in a clay workshop during the event. Moyer’s joy for teaching and sharing art with children was evident as she passed clay around and listened to students as they explained what their creation was about.
“(The event) brings families, teachers, artists … the whole community together to celebrate the arts,” she said. “I’ve had countless parents and grandparents come up to me and say, ‘thank you so much for doing this.’
“It’s a lot of work,” she added, “but it’s worth it.”