NEWINGTON - Two parents admired their kindergartner’s artwork and the works of older students, as visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
Actually, they were visions of Mayaelyse Brooks’ artistic passion blooming in years to come. Anthony Brooks Sr. and his wife Nikki Brooks could hardly contain their pride as they peered at their daughter’s drawing, hanging in the district’s 2017 Town Wide Art Show. It sits beside the works of students from Newington High School and all grades between.
“We all came out to support her today,” said Nikki, with Mayaelyse’s 1-year-old sister Annalese in her arms and her brother Anthony Jr., by her side. “It’s really nice they display the work of all the students,” she added. “It’s great to see the high school students who started this young and now they’re at that level.”
On the third floor of Newington Town Hall, the show is grouped by grade and school. Teachers and families joined students for their big debut on opening night, when the halls were filled with admirers young and old. Visitors were met by photographs, prints, ceramics, copper enameling, jewelry and oil paintings.
Mixed-media pumpkin patches were crafted by second-graders at Ruth Chaffee and teens proudly called intricate, three-dimensional portraits their own.
Space constraints limit show selections to about half of the school population. Since art is widely subjective and personal standards vary, teachers say choosing is a challenge.
“It’s not easy,” said Courtney Moulter, art educator at Ruth Chaffee and John Paterson.
Students’ adherence to curriculum and level of classroom effort weigh in to the selection process.
“This is a celebration of the arts and their artistic accomplishments within the curriculum,” Moulter explained. “They’re learning the elements and principles of design, even at the elementary level.”
Although the show comes down in late May, a permanent art gallery exists on the same floor. New pieces are added each year and remain for a period of eight years, affording students the opportunity to return and see their artwork after graduating. One from each school and grade is chosen annually. This year’s winners will be announced at a ceremony May 24 at 6:30 p.m.
The favorite of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bill Collins was fifth-grader Ella Michaud’s Oaxacan sculpture.
The Oaxaca valley region of Mexico is known for its painted wood carvings, fantastical creatures born in the minds of artisans. Michaud’s class at John Wallace Middle School had a history lesson on this before beginning their own sculptures this year.
Noah Devanney, 9, learned about sugar skulls that decorate tombs on the Day of the Dead. Then he created his own, alongside fellow classmates at Anna Reynolds.
“I used a bunch of shaping and cutting tools in order to develop it,” Devanney explained. “I spent about a month working on it.”
His mother Melissa smiled as he posed for a photograph, holding the creation.
“We are very excited,” she said. “He does a lot of sketching at home.”
Newington’s Town wide Art Show is open to the public during regular town hall hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or email@example.com.