By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Student Artists Shine In Show
Decorative buttons were being made fast and furious at one table, the popular spin art booth was busy, high school students tried their hand at painting in the style of Jackson Pollock ... all the events adding up to a busy districtwide art fair in the old gym on the campus of Escalon High.

The annual event features work by students from all schools in the district, from kindergarten through 12th grade. There is always a theme and this year was 'world folk art' with pieces raging from Native American artwork to box kites to punched metal pieces and Chinese lanterns.

El Portal art teacher Jewell Kelley said with the state of the state and the money crunch that all school districts are in, having something positive for kids and the community is that much more important.

"The kids are excited about it," Kelley said. "And the talent, the qualify of the works just gets better and better."

Classes from all the district schools had a chance to tour the art show during the week, March 2 through 6, and Wednesday was Open House at the art fair, with community residents welcomed in to see the work done by students.

"I, as a teacher, really appreciate the support of the district," Kelley added of continuing to have the show be a part of the curriculum. "We're very supported by the district and we're very lucky and fortunate."

The old gym at Escalon High was transformed into a rainbow of colors and a blur of activity, with elementary students coming through and completing a number of art-related projects in addition to touring through the work. Excitedly, they pointed to their own displays, from the embroidery on burlap by Ms. Marganelli's second grade class at Dent to the colorful overhead Chinese lanterns.

"Every year, the elementary teachers come up with great things," added high school art teacher Sherri Jensen, who said she was also pleased to have the community come in and enjoy the work. "Every year, this is probably the most fun thing I do."

For fellow high school art teacher Neil Thomas, seeing art break down the barriers between students was important.

"You've got the goth kids, the emo, jocks and cheerleaders, all coming together to work on something," he said.

Student volunteers helped do face painting as well as assisting younger students at the various stations.

"I'm amazed at the amount of talent in such a small community," he added. "What amazes me more is the amount of support ... a ton of parents came through, the community really pulls together."

Getting the students involved in art at the elementary level is important, he said, to keep them tapping into their creative side.

"It's a good outlet," Thomas said. "Plus it's cross-curricular, doing Jackson Pollock validates the study of art history. Dropping the eggs shows how physics and art go together."

Overall, noted Thomas, anyone that stopped by the art show had a chance to appreciate the wide range of talent in the community. He also praised the district for continuing to place value on the program.

"I don't think people not from here realize how unique it is," he said.