Slater Musuem holds annual show of children's art

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Norwich - posted Mon., Apr. 8, 2013
Norwich Slater Museum Children's Art Show
Alex, 8, and William, 7, Cub Scouts from Pack 55 in Gales Ferry, examine the sculpted owl lanterns at the Slater Museum's annual children's art exhibit. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Converse Gallery at Norwich Free Academy’s Slater Museum was milling with pint-sized artists and their admiring families April 7 for the unveiling of the museum’s annual children’s art show. Sophia, 8, was one of the young artists searching the gallery wall for her pieces, along with her grandmother, Jackie Jones, and her father, Jason Jones. One of her artworks was a relief-sculpture owl.

“First we took clay and flattened it, and I shaped it into an owl,” she explained. “We used different tools and made textures. For the beak I used a sharp tool, and for the feathers I took a little arrow thing and pressed down on it.” After the clay dried, it was fired in a kiln, she said.

Cassidy, 7, of Franklin, had several pieces on display, including an embossed-paper print, displayed along with its original printing plate. Cassidy said she glued cardboard shapes to the square plate, painted areas of the plate with different colors, and then “a big roller thing ran over it” – a printing press.

Cassidy’s mom said that she signed her daughter up for the Slater’s children’s art classes for the first time this year. “I wasn’t sure she was old enough,” she said, but seeing the art program cut from her daughter’s school curriculum was “a big disappointment” to the avid young artist.

Lyllyan Cheeks, 13, described a similar process that she used to create an embossed metal design. The shapes she glued to her printing plate were cut from textured surfaces like sandpaper and mesh screening, she said. “After the glue was dry we pressed it. We made it like a sandwich,” she said. The textured shapes left their imprint on the metal foil.

This is the 119th installment of the children’s art show at the Slater Museum, said museum educator Mary Ann Hall. The children’s art program, which meets on Saturday mornings at NFA’s Bradlaw Building, guides students in grades three through eight through a variety of art media including clay, painting, drawing, metal work, and for the older students, photography. About 140 young people participated this year, she said. Several pieces from the exhibit, including some delicately-detailed still life drawings and photograms, have already been exhibited at the Mystic Art Association’s “Young at Art” exhibit, she said.

Sabrina Honvo and Lily McGee, both 13 and from Norwich, spent a fair amount of time admiring the photos they and their classmates made with pinhole cameras as part of their classes this year. “We got to test all kinds of art materials,” said Lily. She and Sabrina plan to attend NFA as freshmen next year and take some of the school’s studio courses, she said.

Becky Callan, of Colchester, was enjoying her first-ever visit to the Slater with her children, Henry, 8, and Jillian, 6. They happened onto the children’s art exhibit while participating in the museum’s art "scavenger hunt.” Both siblings are avid artists, said their mother. “I do all kinds of drawing. I make up my own monsters from the ancient seas,” said Henry. Jillian, by contrast, said she likes to draw “land things.”

The children’s art exhibit will remain on display at the Slater Museum through April 30. Hours at the museum are Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 1-4 p.m.


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