Brooklyn student artwork featured in annual show

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Brooklyn - posted Mon., May. 23, 2011
Hailey Kerouack paints a square on the community mural at the fifth annual Masterpiece Art Show. Photos by Denise Coffey.
Hailey Kerouack paints a square on the community mural at the fifth annual Masterpiece Art Show. Photos by Denise Coffey.

The hallways of Brooklyn Elementary School were packed with children and their parents for the fifth annual Masterpiece Art Show on May 20. Brooklyn PTO member and organizer of the show Laura Tedeschi started the program in 2006 as a way to honor the joy and creativity she found in her own children’s artwork. She wanted to encourage art in Brooklyn’s schools.

The PTO gives students in pre-Kindergarten through grade eight one week’s notice to select a favorite piece of artwork to enter in the show. Students could submit work in one of five categories: painting, drawing, mixed media, 3D or photography. It was clear from the art-covered hallways and the gymnasium-turned-art gallery that the kids have taken a liking to the event.

“This is something you love,” Tedeschi said. “It’s on the refrigerator. Mom and Dad love it. It is not school work. In fact, we discouraged teachers from submitting the work. The kid has to like the work.”

Middle school students staffed art stations where younger students could try their hands at different art techniques such as salt reticulation and crayon resist. Raffle tickets were available for book packages. Silver City Studio sponsored a triptych, a three-panel canvas that students could paint portions of. Silver City will donate the triptych to the community, once it is completed. There was a clay station where students could fashion sculptures. A huge canvas panel stood against a wall, and students chose individual squares to paint. They could paint whatever they liked.

The annual event has grown beyond the visual arts. Student poetry was posted on the walls. Student musicians performed in the library-turned-café. And to underscore the seriousness of art and its pursuit, professional artists from the community brought their own art to sell in a silent auction.

An artist herself, Tedeschi wanted the show to be educational and as all-encompassing as possible for the kids. “From my perspective, it needs to be educational if the PTO is the supporting organization,” she said. “The other mission is to get all the creativity in the school. That’s why we have music, poetry and art.”

She was able to enlist a committee of judges, all professional artists and art educators, to judge the works. It took them three hours. They awarded ribbons for first-, second- and third-place finishers in each category in each grade. Honorable mentions were given, as were special awards. Students who received them were entitled to prizes such as acrylic paint sets, canvases and palettes.

The professionals were not the only judges of the work, however. Students could vote for their favorite pieces by purchasing stars and sticking them on the work’s label.

Alex Orbegozo chose a 3D sculpture as his favorite. “It’s really big and looks a lot like what it’s supposed to be,” he said.

Nicolas Kelley was equally enthusiastic about the piece he chose, a mixed media hanging as tall as he stood. “I like the design because there’s real marshmallows,” he said, his hands hovering over the six marshmallows pasted on the paper. It was clearly the most beautiful in his eyes.

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