Heaven on Earth

Dec. 11-17, 2003

By Eileen Jevis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Students at St. Charles Borromeo share their artistic gifts

Ocean and angels, sunsets and sailboats, rivers and forests, ice cream sundaes and baseball -— these were the things that came to the minds of art students at St. Charles Borromeo Elementary School when asked to paint a picture describing heaven on earth. Twenty-nine of the students from grades two through five were selected to have their paintings displayed at the Great Expectations Art Gallery in downtown Syracuse. The children’s artwork was on exhibit for two weeks at the children’s gallery as part of an ongoing program to encourage and educate area youth on the importance of culture and artistry. The director of the gallery, Suzette Uhrig, and two children selected the children. “The kids were very excited about exhibiting their work in a real gallery,” said Uhrig. “Most of the children of St. Charles came down to view the work as well as many parents, grandparents and staff members,” she said. At the mini-art opening, a reception was held for the students and their families to celebrate their talent and success. Jason Keyes, a third-grader at St. Charles, said it took him a long time to decide what to draw. “But then it came to me,” he said. “I wanted to draw nature. My picture has trees, birds, deer and turtles.” Phoebe Langdon, another third-grader combined heaven and earth by drawing a picture of angels dancing on flowers. The sun in her picture is wearing sunglasses and there are owls flying through the air with the angels.

Third-grader Kelly Bova envisioned a forest as her heaven on earth. Her painting portrays a log cabin nestled in the forest with a river flowing by and deer and a wolf standing by the house. “Actually, I knew people would do things with angels in them, so I picked something different,” said Kelly. “I want to live in the forest. My brother, he wants everything. He wants to be a millionaire. I just want to live in the forest,” she said. Kevin Sierotnik, grade two, drew Jesus walking on the water with Mary and angels surrounding Him. He said he felt good to be included with the other artists at the gallery. Fifth-grader Morgan Cooney thought about the theme before she began to create. “I wanted to paint something that is found both in heaven and on earth,” she said. “I painted a sunset over the ocean with palm trees and sand.” Her portrayal was so well done that Morgan was asked if she had ever been to the ocean. “No,” she said. “But I’d like to go.”

The students learned about the famous painter, Henri Matisse, before they went to work on their own paintings. They talked about his travels and how he painted what he saw during those travels. They also talked about his use of color. Christopher DiFlorio, a fourth-grader, said that it was fun to see all their paintings hung in the gallery. “I’m glad my art made it to the gallery,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”

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