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Sandy Journal

Elementary art shows display talent from visual art to live performances

Aug 03, 2022 09:06PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens is known to have said, “Every child has the spirit of creation.”

That was evident as students’ year-end visual artwork was shared at several Sandy elementary schools, yet each show had a different twist.

At Quail Hollow, students performed in a talent show as well as looked at a display of faculty and staff artistic talents. Park Lane Elementary Panthers performed in the orchestra as well as tried their hand making creations in a couple of art forms. Lone Peak students were amongst those to see the unveiling of their year-long fused glass project which shows what community means to them.

Much of the visual art on display was produced under the direction of their Beverley Taylor Sorenson art specialists.

Many Quail Hollow students—and even a staff member—took to the microphone to sing, play instruments or perform in other artistic ways, such as martial arts, gymnastics, dance, puppetry, magic tricks, a film showing skiing highlights, and even solving a Rubik’s cube in less than one minute. They were sometimes joined by family members. Each act was introduced by emcee Principal Shad DeMill, who often was entertaining in his own right—and complimentary to students, even inviting one young singer to perform at his next dinner party.

While about 40 students performed to an audience that extended beyond the number of chairs set up, some other families looked at artwork of red rocks, pandas with bamboo, colorful tissue-paper sea horses, birds perched in tree branches during snow storms, self-portraits, pupils of an eye, autumn leaves and more hung by clothes pins draped on twine across the multipurpose room.

Blakey Cragun was excited to look at his fourth-grade son Charlie’s artwork.

“He has several paintings up and he just loves it,” he said. “He discovered art as a way to let his artistic side shine through. It speaks volumes as his language. This is pretty special.”

Dragons are Charlie’s specialty.

First-grader Max Reece likes drawing dolphins.

“He begged to come and was so excited to be here,” his father, Todd said.

His third-grade daughter Emma also loves art.

“I like doing art, especially drawing and painting,” Emma said. “I like to blend the colors.”

In addition to the talent show and display of art, several areas were set up for hands-on opportunities, such as wooden necklace painting, watercolor resistance, yarn weaving, paper sculpting with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and even a guess the artist game.

Quail Hollow’s art night started in 2018, but like many events, it was sidelined during COVID-19, said Melinda Rosevear, who is the PTA art night chair.

“We need to really highlight art,” she said, adding that art night allows an opportunity for all school children to participate. “I just feel the art is so important to our children and to our community. It gives our children a chance to develop their brains, a way to gain confidence, a chance to develop their fine motor skills and it’s good for anxiety in our children, for their emotional wellness. It also really creates a sense of accomplishment in our children. They have created something that they are proud of and can show their parents. When they walk into the gym, they’re like, ‘wow, look at this art. It is so cool.’”

Rosevear credits the help of many volunteers who have stepped up to teach and lead activities as well as help the 500 families who attended that night.

“We hold several parent and family events during a typical school year, and this is hands down, the most popular,” she said. “It creates such a sense of community, a sense of belonging and a way to celebrate the arts. I love the many things that it accomplishes.”

Park Lane’s Night of Arts not only included the orchestra performance, but a chance for kids to express themselves through chalk and paint.

“We have art experts come and do art with the kids and they love it,” Principal Justin Jeffrey said.

Before the pandemic, they’ve created murals from artwork students painted on 3-inch by 3-inch tiles and have invited the Museum of Contemporary Art to hold interactive activities. Students, who have been in the school musical, have performed songs and dances and traditionally, the choir holds its concert in conjunction.

This year, Jeffrey said it was simplified being the first one back from the pandemic. That was fine for Mady Huff’s third- and fifth-grade kids.

“They love to express themselves and be creative,” she said. “They used watercolor, salt and glue to create a bumpy texture. It’s pretty cool.”

Lone Peak’s community anxiously awaited the unveiling of its glass mural.

It was a year-long process where kids drew what community meant to them, then working with Lone Peak Elementary artist-in-residence Allison Klinger, they created the school building, the playground, the trees and almost every piece with glass to create the mural that now hangs outside of the school’s multipurpose room.

“Because the students create the pieces and Allison puts them together, it will be more authentic since students are the ones designing it,” said Cassie Walker, the school’s Beverley Taylor Sorenson art teacher. “At the end of the day, we really want kids to look at it and know they actually created it, and that their ideas are used and a professional artist helping to facilitate that.”

The unveiling was bittersweet for Klinger as it marked the end of the year working with students on the design and elements of the piece. The kindergartners got to work on flowers, the first- and second-graders and even some third-graders, created the bricks for the school building, other third-graders made the mountains, fourth- and fifth-graders put together the students and fifth-graders laid glass to be fused for the trees.

“The whole experience was satisfying and despite COVID restrictions, we were able to pull this together; I can’t be more thrilled for these students,” Klinger said. “They can come back, see this art mural and be reminded of the time they had creating this and being here at school.”

That is something Principal Tracy Stacy also wanted.

“This has been unbelievable,” she said. “It’s an experience and a memory they’ll have forever— and can live on through their amazing artwork.”

First-grader Liam Arendtsen pointed to the part he did to his mother, Karen Kennedy, as well as his self-portrait and fluorescent Monarch butterfly in other parts of the art show.

“This show is amazing,” Kennedy said. “To be able to work with glass is really cool, but more so, how he is able to be creative in artwork.”

Another first-grader, Rocky Holmoe showed his mother Carlee, his artwork and together they looked at others’ art, including the clay sculptures and handsewn felt stuffed animals.

“My son really likes art, and this is an opportunity for them to learn about all the different forms and be exposed to that early,” she said.

Canyons School District Superintendent Rick Robbins also was on hand for the art show and the mural unveiling.

“The art show at Lone Peak is a great reflection on the school community and the district’s commitment to the arts; it’s really important that our students have the opportunity to demonstrate their passions and their love,” he said. “This mural is a great example of the students’ passion for arts and a symbol of hope as we come out of the pandemic with the inclusion of a rainbow and a sense of togetherness and community.”