By mid-June, many families find their homes bursting with school art projects. In my house, prized creations may be taped to a bedroom door or displayed on the fridge with magnets. Some less fortunate pieces could end up under a pile of mail, used as bookmarks or (dare I admit?) flipped over with a to-do list written on the back. Much of this artwork represents a great deal of creativity and effort — maybe it deserves a chance for better recognition?
A group of families along Anneslie Road in Towson has found an adorable way to make that happen. Three years ago, Liliana Morris, now a rising fourth-grader at Stoneleigh Elementary School, came up with the idea to conclude the school year with a neighborhood art show. Her mom, Delphine Everarts, helped put the plan in motion.
The now-traditional event is held on or close to the last day of school, weather dependent. This year, the show took place on the evening of Friday, June 14. About 30 children, ages 4-12, participated in the show. Dozens of grown-ups came out to support the young artists, as well as to socialize, enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres, and celebrate the close of another successful school year.
The kids are eager to show off their work. They choose their favorite pieces from the past year to display, and then go about setting up an impressive collection all over one of the backyards. Art is hung on trees and branches, across strings and wires, a soccer goal, a ladder, a trampoline, and other resourceful places.
“After everything is up, I like to see the yard as one big masterpiece, and it looks amazing,” said Delphine Everarts. When the artists are ready at their stations, the grown-ups walk through the gallery, admiring the art and engaging the young artists in conversation about their selected works.
“Seeing how proud the children are of their creations, hearing how much thought and effort they have put into their work is just beautiful. It is a great way to honor their school year, relax and have fun,” said Courtney Charest. Her husband, Lou Charest, declares the art show to be one of his favorite events of the year. “It’s a reminder of the innocent and joyful lens that our kids see the world through,” he said.
Children can also create new art on the spot at tables stocked with supplies. “This year, we took recycling and made things with it,” said rising second-grader Haddie Charest. “Some of us worked together to make a sculpture of a cake and painted it.”
Haddie’s brother, Will Charest, enjoys the show “because I get to tell people about how and why I did things.” Another brother, Joseph Charest, likes the event not only for the art, but because it is a fun time to spend with good friends.
Indeed, kids and grown-ups alike enjoy the art show tremendously. I commend Liliana on an excellent idea that I suspect other neighborhoods may start copying next year!