Students Paint Their Dreams

Mary Johnson Photo “They know what art is.”

John Prins, a member of the Branford Board of Education, was lavish in his praise for students in kindergarten through 12th grade whose art is on display at the Blackstone Memorial Library.

“It’s really incredible,” Prins said. “They have such sophistication and perspective and depth.”

Julia Munroe, a 10th grader at Branford High School, drew the self-portrait above. “I’ve always loved art since I was young and I always had a passion for it,” she said.

Wednesday evening was the opening celebration for Branford Public Schools K-12 Art Show. The library was crowded to capacity as students proudly shared their creations with parents, teachers and administrators. The art will be on display through the end of March.

Mary Johnson Photo “It’s a great night,” said Dr. Susan Iwanicki, principal at Sliney Elementary School. “It makes them so happy to see their art in a public place like this.”

Mary Johnson Photo Pictured above is Scout Engstrom, a 3rd grader at Tisko Elementary, and her watercolor.

Students found inspiration everywhere.

Mary Johnson Photo Emilie Agamie, (pictured above) a 2nd grade student at Tisko Elementary School, created an owl because it’s a mascot at her school. Tisko art teacher Jenny DeNicola said Emilie is “one of our most enthusiastic artists.”

This is the fourth year that Blackstone Library has hosted the school district’s art show.

“This gives students an opportunity to showcase their art in a public place,” said Madelyn Paskiewicz, chair of the district’s art department. “We always tell students, ‘Art doesn’t just happen in the art room, it happens everywhere.’ They love to show their work.”

Mary Johnson Photo The drawing above is by Garth Corbett, a student at Branford High School. .

John McColl, an art teacher at the high school, said art is vitally important to students. “It expresses their individuality. It proves to them they can be creative. It’s an honor as a teacher to try to inspire them and step out of their way and let them create.”

And create they did.

Mary Johnson Photo The eye-catching work above is by Jamie Hershman, an 11th grader at the high school.

Mary Johnson Photo The picture above is by Cassidy Murphy, a senior at the high school.

“It’s all very, very inspiring,” Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez told the youngsters. “I hope you always follow your dreams.”

Mary Johnson Photo The beach scene above is by 12th grade student Amy Bachuber.

Prins, a vocal champion of the arts, convened a brief meeting of the board’s Teaching and Learning Committee in the library’s auditorium Wednesday so he could introduce the art teachers and the student docents.

Prins took the occasion to put in a plug for continued support for the arts. He reminded parents that talks are underway regarding proposed renovations for Walsh Intermediate School, and Sliney Elementary School. “Our schools must be equipped with first-rate art facilities,” he said, asking parents to band together to make sure that art space is included in the renovation plans.

Several Walsh students had their art pieces on display.

Mary Johnson Photo The wire sculpture above was created by Bella Higgins, a 6th grade student at Walsh.

Mary Johnson Photo The “personality mask” above was created by Walsh 7th grader Brooklyn Perry.

Dorian Hayes, a 5th grader at Walsh, was one of the student docents at the art show. “I like that there’s no correct answer in art. You can always come up with you own ideas.” He drew a picture of a pair of pliers and explained how he turned that into a bird and then drew the background scenery.

Lily Kaiser, a 6th grader at Walsh, was another student docent. “I like how they have everything spaced out here. It’s not by category so you have a variety,” she said.

Mary Johnson Photo Here is Rachel Solmine’s work.

“This one is mine,” shouted a few students as they found where their art work was displayed.

Mary Johnson Photo Chase Nixon is all smiles as he displays his art above. He is a kindergarten student at the John B. Sliney Elementary School.

The pieces ranged from whimsical to thought-provoking.

Mary Johnson Photo Tess Wasiolek, a 2nd grader at Tisko school, created the above work by using a straw-blowing technique.

Mary Johnson Photo The clay duck above was crafted by Sydney Kropf, a 3rd grade student at Mary Murphy Elementary School.

Mary Johnson Photo Here is an upbeat painting by Morgan who attends the the Mary K. Murphy school.

Mary Johnson Photo Katherine Yale, a 10th grader at the high school, used her imagination to turn a book into the sculpture above.

The art show continues through March at the James Blackstone Memorial Library, 758 Main St., Branford. 

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