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Other cultures value their arts; Art: Exhibit put together for an education conference shows the world as children see it.


You'd expect a swanky downtown hotel to have priceless works of art on its walls.

And the Hyatt Regency has them. This week, drawings, collages, paintings, and even pottery created by children from around the world are on display at an international educators' conference.

There's a watercolor brushed by a Nepali teen, and a fabric flag painted by Korean students. Finnish children replicated an image familiar to them -- snowmen, carefully constructed from cotton. There are fold-out books, pictures fashioned from leaves and insect-like images created from foam pellets, all created by youngsters aged 3 to 15.

And alongside the artworks are photographs of the children at work, and in some cases, biographical information about them.

The 80 or so pieces, cataloged and mounted by education students from Villa Julie College, also come from India, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia and the United States.

The artworks are on display today through Thursday at the annual Association of Childhood Education International conference.

Jessica Collins, a student who helped coordinate the exhibit, says she was surprised by the high caliber of the works. Collins says the sophistication of many pieces illustrates a greater emphasis on art among other countries and cultures.

"These young children are coming up with these things we consider masterpieces when we compare them to the work done in the United States," Collins says.

"It's amazing. You can really see how much other countries stress the arts more than we do here. I think we need to put more emphasis on all of the arts, not only in pictures and drawing, but also in music and writing."

The works also demonstrated grim realities faced by children in other countries, says Gigi Franyo, an adviser for the Villa Julie chapter of the Education Association.

"The young students sent in works that were very graphic in terms of violence," she says. "One group from India depicted bombs dropping and gunfire."

The works will be sold during the conference at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, 300 Light St., and proceeds will be used to help found additional ACEI chapters.

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