Students’ artistic talents revealed

Published 10:46 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Students, parents and art teachers gathered Tuesday for the Superintendent’s Art Show reception. A work of art from a student at each school was chosen to hang in the school administrative offices for the next year.

The Mona Lisas and Starry Nights of tomorrow — a lofty goal, to be sure, but not impossible — were unveiled Tuesday at Suffolk Public School’s Superintendent’s Art Show Reception.

One piece of art from each Suffolk public school is selected to hang in the district’s administrative offices for one year, and Tuesday’s event marked the changing of the guard.

Students and parents rubbed shoulders with art teachers and administrators, all of them avidly discussing the new art and the talents of the creators.


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Superintendent Deran Whitney said he is reminded when he walks in the door of the creativity being unleashed in Suffolk classrooms.

“It really highlights all the diversity and talent we have in the school system,” he said. “We have even talked about expanding it through the building. You can see that it’s well-supported by our students, teachers and parents.”

Art teacher Stephanie Gwaltney explained the assignment from which was selected the work of John F. Kennedy Middle School’s winning student, Brianna Dail.

“They had to make an animal from the sky, the land and the sea — they had to morph that animal into one,” Gwaltney said.

The works her students produced reminded John F. Kennedy principal Vivian Covington of her love of art. “If I had a second career, it would be an artist,” Covington said.

Ross Dail was proud of his daughter’s achievement, saying, “Brianna is a very unique child, and I’m very proud of her.”

Another parent enjoying the event was Miki Coleman, whose daughter Kana Coleman, of Lakeland High School, evidently has a gift for drawing.

Kana Coleman’s portrait of Stevie Wonder appears as a photograph at first glance. (She said she likes the “classic Stevie Wonder,” not the performer’s later offerings.)

“I would never have thought that I would be displayed here, really,” she said.

According to Annette Lowe, her art teacher, Coleman has rendered some “phenomenal portraits. This is her third portrait … and each one gets better and better.”

Alongside the older students’ works are those of the elementary students. Hillpoint Elementary teacher Ed Lane said his school’s winning student, Madison Yeger, had shown talent beyond her years by blending colors.

“For a first-grader, that’s pretty advanced,” Lane said.

Suffolk Public Schools Coordinator of Elementary Instruction Pam Connor, who oversees the art program, said the reception was designed to resemble an art gallery exhibition opening.

“We invite the parents to come and view the art and enjoy refreshments,” she said.