By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON – No two are alike. Scanning from canvas to canvas, the hand-painted self-portraits of each child tell oddly accurate tales. Without too much trouble, you can match each portrait to its young artist. And the room is full of them – young, excited kids stepping into the world of art at Park Place Arts.
The Eighth Street gallery opened this summer, but it’s already making a creative footprint. The Self Portrait class for kids held recently marked the beginning of such events at the facility. Park Place Arts owner Eliot Reed brought artist and teacher Vanessa DeYoung in for a morning to give kids the opportunity to learn about famous artist Frida Kahlo, and to launch kids into an art project of their own. “The kids learned her life story,” said DeYoung. The kids learned about Mexico and about Kahlo’s long stay in the hospital wearing a cast. “She made over 50 self-portraits that are in museums."
Kids then used a hand-held mirror as they sketched out their design for their own self-portrait on paper. When it came time to approach the canvas, DeYoung taught the kids to blend red, yellow and blue acrylic paints to create the right shade for skin.
“I love painting," said Ariweyn Thompson, age 6. "I learned that you have to practice before you do it.”
While the 9- by 12-inch paintings were drying, Reed gave the youngsters a personal tour of the current gallery exhibit featuring textiles. Reed encouraged the kids to look closely at an antique crazy quilt covered with a variety of decorative stitches and numerous fabrics. “There’s a plaid shirt,” pointed out one student, as he peered at the haphazard array of textiles in the quilt.The kids were introduced to embroidery, quilts and afghans. Reed and DeYoung prompted to the kids to notice the different color palettes and distinctive styles represented in the collection. In the end, 14 kids, ages 5 through 11, happily claimed their self-portraits to take home.“This is my second self-portrait,” said 7-year old Anthony Taliaferro. “It was better than the first.” Taliaferro noted, “The best part was going around seeing all the artwork.”Ten-year old Logan Lewis said he liked the gallery tour, too, but happily displayed his own artwork. Having learned a thing or two about Vincent Van Gogh from DeYoung’s class at Anderson Elementary, Lewis pointed out that he incorporated a little bit of “Starry Night” into his self-portrait. DeYoung was tickled to offer the class with Reed. “To do this with Eliot is just amazing. We knew each other in third grade. It’s just so neat.” “We had a lot of fun,” agreed Reed.The textiles show includes antique handmades as well as current works. Expect to see quilts, afghans, embroidery work and more. The show runs through the end of August. Park Place Arts is located at 515 E. Eighth St. in Anderson. Call 374-6030, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or find them on Facebook for more information. The gallery is currently calling for submissions for its next show on Native American art and artifacts.
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If you go: What: Park Place Arts Textiles Exhibit Where: 515 E. Eighth St., Anderson When: Through Aug. 31 More info: Look for Park Place Arts on Facebook.