NEWINGTON - The creative works of local youths are now on display for all to see.
Children and their parents were the first to experience Newington Public Schools’ Town-Wide Art Show during a recent opening night reception. The square hallway of Town Hall’s third floor filled with kids eager to find their art, pausing to admire that of fellow students along the way. Photographs, digitally made works, paintings, drawings and many other types of media are featured.
“I love how the younger kids can look forward to what they’re going to do in middle school and high school as they walk around the show,” said Corinna Carlson, an art educator at Anna Reynolds and John Paterson, two of the town’s four elementary schools.
Carlson greeted her students as they found their way to several different tabletop displays of art made in her classes.
Mike Wade admired his daughter Gianna’s clay sculpture, which she described as “a gargoyle, bunny and human mixed together.”
“I have a gargoyle tattoo,” Wade told Carlson as the pair continued their walk around the show.
“The kids have a lot of talent,” he pointed out.
Newington school faculty value the annual event, which showcases the work of students from all seven schools in the district. Teachers chose which assignments are included and one student from each grade and school is selected to have their piece featured in the permanent collection. Also on the third floor of Town Hall, this gallery is changed only once every seven years, giving alumni a chance to revisit their contributions.
Voters approved a top-to-bottom rebuild of the facility last November. A date for the groundbreaking has yet to be set, but it has some in the school community wondering where students’ art will find its new home.
“I’m nervous about the renovation and where we can have the art show during construction and after the new building is built,” Carlson said. “We’re still brainstorming.”
The schools’ chief administrators came to the reception to pin a Principal’s Award on their favorite pieces.
John Wallace Middle School Principal Daniel Dias thoughtfully clutched his ribbon, making countless rounds past the school’s gallery. As he peered up at self portraits and down at mixed media assemblages, students and their families stopped by to say hello.
“I like to just walk around and look at everything first,” Dias said. “I try to find a piece that speaks to me and brings out some kind of emotion. I consider the use of color and composition and try to understand how they’ve expressed themselves in the work.”
Superintendent William Collins pinned his ribbon on an architectural drawing by Alexandria Duran, a fifth-grader at John Wallace. The abstract piece was made using pastels.
Martin Kellogg Middle School’s Art Club offered up a display of colorful guitars that members decorated. This table was a popular one among visitors.
Kelly Kelly and her children had several stops to make during their visit.
“I painted a mountain, with a volcano in the foreground,” her 8-year-old son Matthew said, pointing to his piece, in Anna Reynolds’ gallery.
His sister Evelyn, 10, is equally proud of her work.
“We’re doing this project at school, I’ve been showing my mom pictures of it because it’s not finished yet,” she said.
The source of these creative juices might just be their mother, whose Zentangle art will be on display at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library this summer.
Newington schools’ Town-Wide Art Show is open to the public Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through May 18. Newington Town Hall is located at 131 Cedar St.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.