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Exploring the schools of art

May 20, 2006|By Lauren Hilgers

The longer 11-year-old Jonathan Lee stayed at the Ralph Emerson Elementary School Art Fair on Friday, the stranger he looked.

"I'm a girl and a moose," Jonathan announced, having put on a tutu and a moose mask.

Five minutes later, the Emerson student had morphed into what he characterized as "a Jedi moose with a light saber."

The fair had the same effect on many of the students, who collected paper bag hats, giant cardboard slices of pizza and face masks as the afternoon continued.

"Usually we do a fall carnival, where we dress up in our Halloween costumes or something," said 11-year-old Carly Gilmore. "This year we decided to do an art fair."

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The fair, devised by parents and teachers at the school, was one part carnival, one part art day and one part concert. Students tossed rings, performed on an outdoor stage and made origami cats as they cruised the booths strewn across the school's playground.

"We wanted to introduce as many forms of arts as we could," said parent Cheyenne Dragomer, who helped organize the event alongside PTA president Karen Broderick and kindergarten teacher Peg Flynn. "We wanted things from fine arts to creative arts to performance art."

To get the job done, Dragomer depended on the expertise of parents and the assistance of local residents and businesses.

"Most of the booths that you see here, we had volunteer parents to lead them," she said.

Dorothy Marr, a costume designer, volunteered her services helping students decorate brown paper bags and turn them into puffy hats.

"I have all this stuff in my studio anyway," she said. "I just do stuff whenever they have space for me."

One of the more popular booths, where students could have their hair temporarily colored green, blue, orange or red, was run by stylists from the Marinello School of Beauty.

"I'm thinking about blue and green," said 10-year-old Chanel Yust while waiting in line.

The woman running the booth where Jonathan had transformed himself was a local photographer and gymnastics teacher.

"Some of my kids go to this school," said Erica Hartman, who teaches at Golden State Gymnastics. "So I thought I could help."

Students at Hartman's booth had the chance to dress in costumes and be photographed, taking home a printout of their poses.

Some parents' pockets were bursting at the seems with their children's artwork.

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