The young artists gathered around the gallery, waiting to talk about their framed artwork hanging on the wall.
"Oohs," "ahhs" and "cool" could be heard as students walked in single file through Paularino Elementary School's Room 6, admiring the work of their peers.
"I especially like that picture of the iguana," said first-grade student Ethan Elvanter, 6. "It would kind of be cool to have my picture up there."
The Costa Mesa campus was buzzing Wednesday after lunch with the grand opening of 5R6 art gallery, a section of fifth-grade teacher Lisa Roberts' classroom that's dedicated to her students' work, which includes paintings, drawings and photographs on the wall and sculptural pieces on a table. A carefully matted card, inscribed with a title, the artist's name and medium used accompanied all the pieces.
"I want them to be able to celebrate their own talents ... celebrate what they do and appreciate that learning is more than math and language arts," Roberts said.
Her students have done a number of art projects, as she is learning new ideas while working toward National Board Certification — an advanced teaching degree — with an emphasis in art. It was through this that the students came up with the idea, she said.
"Their talents are just amazing, but there's never a way to showcase it," Roberts said.
The art gallery was a chance for Victoria Madrid, 11, to display a photograph she snapped of a golden retriever puppy.
"I remember when I took that picture I liked it a lot and I'd like to show it off," she said. "I feel excited that everyone else gets to see what I've done. It's pretty neat seeing it there."
Heidi Correaago, 11, created a colorful windmill out of Popsicle sticks that excited a group of first-grade boys because of the fuzzy spiders placed on it.
"It makes me feel proud of what I've done," she said.