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Artists abound at Emerson

Molly Shore

Paul Gatton’s mother is getting a special gift from her son. The

third-grader made a clay pot for her during Emerson Elementary

School’s first PTA-sponsored Multicultural Arts Day on Friday.


“I put a couple of snowmen on my pot,” Paul said. “Where my mom’s

from in Utah, there’s a lot of snow.”

While Paul and his classmates worked with clay, some students

painted and others made mosaic and quilt patterns, decorative masks


or replicas of the New Guinea long drum.

The brightly painted drums were made out of empty carpet tubes,

and the drum tops from beach-ball plastic.

“Once you’re done painting and it’s dry, you’re going to pick up a

beach-ball piece,” parent Kathy Flynn instructed the drum-making

group. “You’re going to pull it tight on all the sides and see what

it sounds like.”

Mary Ellen Herndon’s third-grade class was taught landscape


painting by artist Sheila Cavalluzzi, whose sculpture, The Guardians,

is in front of the Police and Fire Headquarters.

“Because we can’t always paint outside, let’s look at the tree

trunks and get the shape,” Cavalluzzi instructed the group.

“I’m good at painting and I like it,” Erika Thrasher, 8, said.

“Normally, we’re in our classrooms and we use crayons instead of

paint, but I like paint a lot better. It’s really fun.”

In the second-grade mask-making class, the boys and girls created


a mask of a grinning, beak-nosed, pointy-eared wild thing, one of the

characters from “Where the Wild Things Are.”

“They love it,” said Angela Young, who works in the school’s

computer and resource lab. “They’re enthused about this character,

because it’s in one of their core literature books.”

PTA Art Committee Chairwoman Karen Broderick said the arts day

teaches students how people are different and, at the same time,

alike because there are no language barriers in art.

“Art is a way to bring us together,” Broderick said. “When there

is a lot of international stress, it [becomes] a way to communicate.”

Emerson parents and community volunteers planned the day as a way

to encourage students through art since many school creative-arts

programs have been cut because of shrinking budgets, Broderick said.