Friday, June 9, 2006

Youths celebrate friend through art

Student show exhibits artistic prowess

Express Staff Writer

Third-grader Natalie Villanueva and her father visit the Young at Art exhibition, featuring student artwork. Photo by Chris Pilaro

Bellevue Elementary School's fourth-grade dual-immersion students paid tribute to a classmate through the Young at Art exhibition last weekend. The students created a series of batik flags to remember Julian Rojas, a student killed in an automobile accident last year.

"I felt that Julian had been a member of their class and it would be nice to do something to remember him," said Joni Cashman, Bellevue Elementary art teacher.

Each student designed two flags, one to keep and one to integrate into the project. The flags carried messages such as "We miss you" decorated with hearts, flowers and peace signs.

"It was a process, something for the kids to be able to work through their feelings," Cashman said. Julian had been a member of the dual-immersion class since kindergarten.

The entire class took part in the "Remembering Julian" batik project. Batik is an involved process that uses wax and dye to color fabric.

The elaborate art endeavor was part of the sixth annual Young at Art exhibit Friday to Sunday, June 2 to 4, at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum. The Education Foundation of the Blaine County School District presented artwork from more than 200 students to showcase the depth of the school district's art programs.

"There were a lot of really proud students and parents there. People were really impressed with the diversity and quality of the work," said Heather Crocker, Education Foundation executive director. The Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that enriches educational programs and facilities.

Bellevue Elementary fourth-graders also demonstrated their performing arts skills on Sunday with a Mexican dance performance. Dressed in traditional Mexican outfits, dancers Gisel Guzman, Anthonya Romero, Jaqueline Murrilo, Jazmin Carrillo, Jasnelly Mendoza, Claribel Castro, Ilse Reyes, Ismael Hernandez, Jesusita Aguayo and Letti McMurdo performed under instruction of Bellevue dual-immersion teacher Elizabeth Ornelas. Last year, the Education Foundation funded the dance performers hand-sewn costumes.

The collection of performing and visual arts drew several hundred people throughout the weekend.

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