Meridian Star

Local News

March 29, 2014

Budding artists to present art gala

MERIDIAN — Elementary students from Lamar School will exhibit art based on their impressions of some of the most influential artists of all time.

    The Lamar Art Gala will run from April 7 to April 10 and will showcase almost 270 examples of art from students in kindergarten to the sixth grade. The event will include showings at Hope Village, The Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi, Meridian City Hall, Anderson's Regional Medical Center, and at the final viewing on April 10 at the Meridian Museum of Art for the gala, which begins at 5:30 p.m.

    The gala and exhibit are the brainchild of Lamar School art instructor Leslie Carruth, who wanted a way to plant the seeds of all types of art in her students while at the same time teaching them about the styles of such well known artists.

    "I didn't want to focus in on any particular art style but instead expose the students to a wide variety of artists and expressions," Carruth said. "The students were just about to flip over the idea and have created some wonderful art based on a particular style while at the same time adding their own impressions and imagination."

    Kindergarten students concentrated on James Rizzi while the first graders tackled canines in art. Second graders gave their impressions of still life art, while third graders spread their artistic talents with flowers. Fourth through the sixth grades were shown the works of Picasso, Ansel Adams, and Van Gogh respectively. Those older students were excited to put their own spin on the styles by these legendary masters.

    Patricia Syner, a sixth grader, has taken art classes at Lamar School for the past two years but this year was special, she said.

    "The challenge, and the fun, was trying to get the feel for what the artist was portraying and then matching the style," Syner said. "Then, it was a matter of putting my own style into it. My own interpretation."

    Syner said it was pretty cool to step into the shoes of the artist they were studying and to try and create a piece of art that would mimic, but not copy the artist.

    "Everything the people will see was created by these young people," said Fred Brashier, principal at Lamar Elementary School. "Mrs. Carruth really got these students excited. Which isn't hard to believe if you know Mrs. Carruth. She has a lot of energy and enthusiasm for her work."

    Brashier recalled the day Carruth walked into his office to pitch this idea.

    "I loved the idea but we just didn't have the money in the budget to do this," Brashier said. "She didn't get discouraged. She just went out on her own and got the funding for it. That's how she does things."

    The funding for the inaugural event came from grants awarded by the Junior Auxiliary and the Meridian Council for the Arts. Carruth said money raised from the sale of the work will go right back into the art program at the school. She hopes that will ensure the continued instruction and learning of art for years to come.

    "So many schools are losing their arts departments because of funding shortfalls," Carruth said. "We don't want to see this happen here. The loss to the young students would be too great."

    Carruth knows that underneath this young enthusiasm may be the next great artist who, like the masters they are studying now, may influence and inspire future generations.

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