Young artists very talented
Published 12:22 pm Wednesday, April 7, 2004
Though it's a small task in the scheme of things, choosing a weather drawing for the front page of each edition of The Brewton Standard is one of my favorite parts of this job.
As another Standard staffer pointed out to me, a child's artistic interpretation of the world can be fascinating. Some see details that most would not think to feature, and others have a knack for distilling a scene into a very simple representation.
As I flip through our collection of drawings from Brewton Elementary and Neal Elementary students, I wonder if the picture with two suns is supposed to represent an extra sunny day, or why a young artist drew himself flying or why so many children seem to interpret a thunderstorm with the bold, slashing strokes of a yellow lightning bolt.
Many of the drawings amaze me because they show talent that I am surprised to see in such young children.
I was surprised in the same way when I visited Brewton Elementary this week to photograph the school's art contest winners. Their creations were remarkable.
Some of them chose such imaginative subjects -- a unicorn, a big blue cat -- while other students chose more traditional subjects and then executed them so skillfully and realistically.
I would love to learn from the kids what their techniques were and why they chose a certain color or placement or perspective. I imagine that getting into the mind of a child artist is much like trying to understand the motivation of an adult artist -- the products of their talent are easy to appreciate, but trying to understand the process may ruin its magic. For now I prefer to be in awe of the neat things they somehow create.
These elementary school winners went on to compete for ribbons and prizes with dozens of other students in the Brewton Council of the Arts' area Youth Art Contest.
It's a praiseworthy effort of the council to organize this contest and encourage the artistic expression of kids from kindergarten through high school.
As mentioned in today's front page story on the Learning to Read Through the Arts literacy program, Alabama State University's Southern Normal campus is also to be commended for encouraging artistic activities among young children.
Not only do those children get visual arts training three days a week, they also learn about the dramatic arts and use both to develop their reading skills. The children who participate in this program win in so many ways. They get special attention and extra education, which -- artistic or academic -- is rarely a bad thing.
Also this week, I photographed art contest winners at Brewton Kindergarten, and one of the winners said to me, "My parents are going to be so proud to see my picture in the paper!"
I'm sure that they will be, and I'm proud of all these young artists too.