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Student Art Show Encompasses Many Ages, Genres

April 20, 2009 — The annual Good Hope School Student Art Show that ran from Thursday to Sunday coincided with the induction of six student artists into the National Art Honor Society.
Juniors and seniors inducted in a ceremony Friday were Julia Julien, Julia Kimble, Kristian Fennessy, Shani Cox, Ashlee Douglas and Kali Ousley. To be eligible for membership, the student must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average and show talent, character, service and commitment to the community and school.
"These are remarkable children," said Phyllis Biddle, art director of visual studies at Good Hope. "They are in a very rigorous program. By this time they have been introduced to all different mediums, and they have decided what they like."
Biddle, art teacher for upper classes, said it is likely some of the inductees will pursue a career in the art field.
"I want to be an engineer, but I will probably get a minor in art," said inductee Julia Kimble. "Ms. Biddle is able to make anybody draw well. She helps show you what you are good at and helps you explore the medium."
The gymnasium held three-dimensional artwork displayed on tables next to panels holding two-dimensional artwork of students pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The more than 150 pieces were in mediums as unique as gold foil embossing, papier mache fantasy birds, weaving, papier mache masks, geometric string art, Japanese-inspired clay tea cups and the usual acrylic, watercolor, charcoal and pastel drawings and paintings.
"You have to get the kids excited with different materials and projects," Biddle says. "We have endless drawing classes. With drawing they have to discover the eye will deliver to the hand what they are looking at."
The show, which has been held for more than 10 years, is not a contest with awards or prizes, Biddle said. She doesn't like contests.
"Look at all the effort and personalities on display," said Biddle, a well-known local artist in her own right. "How does one choose winners at this age? It can be detrimental to young artists."
Pedra Chaffers, art teacher for students in pre-kindergarten to 8th grade, said she likes the idea that every one of her students has something on display.
"They are all trying their best," she said. "The kids really enjoy art and do some nice work."
Chaffers, who worked in museum education at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., said she likes to incorporate history, geography, social studies and writing in her art room. The fantasy birds, made of recycled pieces of cardboard, had story cards written by the students telling about the imaginary creatures. The black-and-white-patterned pinch pot tea cups were a Japanese design. Papier mache masks were inspired by African and Native American designs. The weavings made of bright-colored yarn have Native American designs.
On Sunday Christiana Williams said she came to the exhibit with her son, Dilani Frorup, because he insisted she had to see his picture.
"I am amazed," Williams said. "I had no idea some of these kids are so talented."
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