ODU displays young artists’ works

Published 11:02 pm Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tempera-paint animals, construction-paper seascapes and oil-paint self-portraits dominate the new “Suffolk Room” at the Old Dominion University satellite campus in Portsmouth.

“It’s gorgeous,” said Barry Smith, the director of the ODU Tri-Cities Higher Education Center. “It’s absolutely amazing how talented these kids are.”

The new ODU campus, located just across the Suffolk/Portsmouth line, wanted to pay homage to the three cities – including Chesapeake – that the center serves, Smith said. Each city’s school division will have its own hall to fill with student art.

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The center will host three Suffolk shows between now and May. The current show, which will be on display until Jan. 12, includes artwork from Booker T. Washington, Creekside, Kilby Shores, Northern Shores and Oakland elementary, King’s Fork Middle and Nansemond River High schools. The other schools in the division will be represented in the other two shows, set to run from Jan. 15 to March 16 and March 19 to May 26.

“I’m excited,” said Brian Holland, a Northern Shores Elementary School student whose tempera painting of a toothless alligator is featured in the hall. Although his favorite animal is a penguin, he said, an alligator was “the first thing that came to my mind.”

Jeremiah Bivens, 11, also used tempera to paint his animal of choice, a black-and-white dog.

“I want to have my art in either a book or a newspaper,” he said.

Paige Moore, an 11-year-old King’s Fork Middle School artist, chose an okapi – an African animal related to the giraffe – as the basis for her mixed-media work.

“I like different and sort of creative animals,” she said. As a school assignment, she drew an outline of the okapi, colored around it with blue and purple watercolors, drew symbols inside the okapi – such as a heart for peace – and put an African-themed border around the work.

Kindergartener Tatianna Neild and first-grader Anna Whitley steered away from animals, choosing self-portraits for their works.

“I drew it with pencils … and colored it in with colored pencils,” Anna said.

Tatianna said she used “brown and yellow” paint to create her light-brown hair color.

Art teachers at the schools chose the 35 works that were placed in the second-floor hall. Smith anticipates the 875 ODU juniors, seniors and graduate students who attend classes at the center will be impressed.

“It’s a huge, diverse display,” he said.

The center is located at 1070 University Blvd., Portsmouth. It is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. most weekdays. For a complete schedule, visit http://www.odu.edu/ao/tricities/centerhours.shtml.

The second Suffolk exhibit will run from Jan. 15 to March 16 with an opening reception on Thursday, Jan. 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and will include student artwork from Driver Elementary, Elephant’s Fork Elementary, Hillpoint Elementary, Mack Benn Jr. Elementary, Southwestern Elementary, Forest Glen Middle and Lakeland High School. The third exhibit will run from March 19 to May 26 with an opening reception on Thursday, March 19 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and will include student artwork from Florence Bowser, Mount Zion, Nansemond Parkway and Robertson elementary, John F. Kennedy and John Yeates middle, and King’s Fork High schools.

Call Pamela Connor, coordinator of elementary school instructional services, at 925-6759 for more information.