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Preschoolers' artwork presented

Tawnya Panizzi
| Thursday, April 29, 2004

FOX CHAPEL-- It wasn't the Carnegie Museum of Modern Art, but it took on a similar feel.

The atrium of the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church came alive last week with creations by preschool students turned mini-Picassos. Vibrant watercolor paintings filled the room, along with unique sculptures made from clay, feathers and glitter. Colorful cardboard cutouts of students lined the walls.

Open to the public, the show gave school leaders the chance to spotlight imaginative work by more than 100 students, ages 1 through 5, who attend the church preschool. It was sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

School director Pam Santucci said the theme, "The Week of the Young Child," was fitting because the artwork gave visitors a glimpse at the student's personalities.

"We provide an opportunity for children to learn and grow all year, and art is the best way for them to express that," Santucci said.

Three-year-olds Emma Francis and Heather Grune couldn't wait to show off their masterpieces to the crowd.

Waving hers in the air, Emma pointed to the bright blue smear of finger paint and told everyone it was Cinderella and her castle. The green construction paper was dotted near the edge with lighter-blue blobs of paint.

"It was snowing at the castle," Emma said.

Classmate Heather was wishing for summer when she painted her piece. Stripes of yellow and blue filled the canvas, representing the beach and a bright sun.

"I went to this beach," she said. "This is the beach in Florida."

Teacher Barb Patterson said the art exhibit gave pupils a chance to express their individuality but also showcase their work for parents and congregation members. It lets even the youngest children have a chance to be praised for their creations, whether they were scribbled with crayons or the more advanced fabric collages.

"Some of the younger kids made art from things they like to eat, like popcorn," Patterson said. "It's whatever they wanted. However they wanted to set it up, whatever colors they wanted to use."

Five-year-old Charlie O'Kunewick chose to use most of the Crayola 64-pack for his pastel drawing of a fisherman at sunset. A stick-figure boy is throwing his line into a multi-color striped ocean.

"It's pretty cause we used lots of colors," Charlie said. "Blue and green are my favorites, and they're in the rainbow."

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