Young artists on display at Rehoboth Elementary

Students inspired by van Gogh, Chihuly, others
Student Lainey Shockro stands next to her pumpkin artwork which earned a ribbon from the Dewey Business Partnership show. BY TAGGART HOUCK
July 1, 2014

Kelly Ranieri never had an art class in elementary school. Now an art teacher at Rehoboth Elementary School, she makes sure every student in the school learns about art and has a chance to create it.

Student artwork from the entire school year were on display during Rehoboth Elementary's annual art show.

This year, nearly 1,500 pieces of art are scattered throughout five sections of the school. This year, Ranieri taught students about the work of five artists:  Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Dale Chihuly, Wayne Thiebaud and Jim Dine. The show reflects student work in each of their varied styles.

Kindergartners were asked to create their own versions of van Gogh's “The Starry Night.” They glued crayons to paper and then melted them with hair dryers to create waxy, wavy patterns.

Students also painted pieces in the style of American pop artist Wayne Thiebaud, who painted everyday objects such as gumball machines or canned sardines using shadows to define the objects. One section of the hall is filled with paintings of gumball machines beaming colorful gumballs.

Another section of the show features a brightly-colored structure resembling a tree as students were inspired by American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, whose towering structures can be found worldwide including a glass ceiling at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

The plastic sculpture was constructed by cutting water bottles and other recycled materials and painting them bright colors. The tree sculpture stands over 5 feet tall in the school's main entryway.

“It's really important for kids to have the opportunity to show off their work,” Ranieri said. “When they walk in here, they are so proud.”

Many of the kids won ribbons for their art from the school, and several students won awards from Dewey Business Partnership, which holds its own art show.

For the DBP show, students select their two best pieces for judging. Ribbons are awarded based on how the work is judged.

Ranieri says the show is not just about her students creating art, but giving them the opportunity to take risks. That way, they won't be afraid to make some mistakes as they try new things, she said.

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