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Children chalk it up to art

Artists and teachers band together to put chalk, pastels and tempura in the hands of children who use playground as a canvas.

October 07, 2006|By Ani Amirkhanian

The playground at Emerson Elementary School was transformed into an art canvas Thursday, as students used chalk and oil pastels to create original works of art in observance of California Arts Day.

Arts Day is a nationwide day that celebrates the importance of the arts in education, said Emerson PTA President Karen Broderick.

The school celebrates Arts Day with an annual chalk-art festival that involves not only students, but parents, local artists and community members, she added.

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"We are advocates for the arts," Broderick said. "We are working to get all of the teachers to where they are more comfortable doing art all the time."

Arts Day recognizes the fine arts and visual and performing arts.

Aliyah Daniels, 9, sat on the playground and drew a happy face with hair.

She used an assortment of colors to complete her picture.

"My [artistic] expression is happiness cause I'm glad I can be here with my friends," Aliyah said.

In another part of the playground, Misty Rodriguez drew flowers and stars.

"Art is a way to express my personality," the 10-year-old said. "It's so people notice what you are about."

Students weren't the only ones using the playground as their canvas.

Burbank artist Randall Williams spent his time drawing a Silver Dollar fish, using chalk and pastels.

Wide-eyed students anxiously observed his work as Williams worked on the drawing on his hands and knees.

"The kids really need it," Williams said of art. "You never know where it's going to take them."

Parent Steve Nevil also participated in Arts Day activities.

Nevil, who once dreamed of becoming a cartoonist but instead turned to acting, decided to share his interest in art with the students.

He demonstrated how to draw Mickey Mouse.

"You start with the ears," Nevil said, as he drew two large circles with blue chalk. "Remember to make the ears big."

Students also painted paper pumpkins with tempura paint.

Shant Barsegian, 6, decided to use a multitude of colors including blue, green and red to color his pumpkin.

"I want him to be scary," Shant said.

At another table, artist Heidi Shannon demonstrated how to paint using a palette knife.

Students watched as she smoothed out a clump of paint with the knife.

"The arts are really important," Shannon said. "It's good for the mind and it's good for the soul."

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