'Kids Art' at Sandy Library through end of March
by: Peter Wylie, Chris Dwyer, the Naas Elementary School Art Literacy Coordinator, admires a wall covered with student art.

Tana Dwyer, a 5-year-old kindergarten student at Naas Elementary School, can't remember what piece of art she contributed to the 'Kid's Art' exhibit now on view at the Sandy Library. But she does remember who inspired her.

'Picasso,' Dwyer disclosed.

Despite the fact that she forgot which piece she contributed, the lesson appears to have worked. And that's exactly the reason behind the exhibit: to provide students a way to reinforce what they learn in the classroom.

'I really think it opens up their eyes; it challenges the right side of the brain and makes them smarter,' said Chris Dwyer, Tana's mother and a parent volunteer at Naas who helped with the exhibit. 'I think it's really important, and they love it.'

Lisa Sheppard, a school assistant at Boring Middle School, coordinated the art show at the two schools and with some home-schooled students in the district. Naas Elementary based its projects on impressionism, while sixth-graders at Boring Middle School created 'altered' Egyptian books, animal sculptures and mosaics.

'Statistics show when you include art and drama in teaching, the students learn better,' Sheppard said. 'There's often more excitement and ownership of projects.'

Based on what they learned in classes such as social studies, students were given an art form or style to work with and then given the freedom to create whatever they wanted. Sixth-grader Keinan Brown, 12, created a mandala - a circular shape filled with images of what peace means to the artist - with chalk pastels.

'I have comets going around mine, and a sun in the middle with an eye in the middle of the sun. It's like the all-seeing sun,' Brown said. 'It was really fun.'

Classmate J.R. Carter, 11, created a 20-page book about Egyptology that visitors can flip through at the library.

'I burned the side of the paper so it looks old,' Carter said. 'I made a pop-up section for the pharaoh, and there's a diagram of the inside of a pyramid.'

Naas third-grader Keahi Ulrich created a special oil pastel painting of a birthday cake, just for Oregon. Ulrich studied Douglas firs, popular places and other important parts of the state.

After all she learned, one of the best rewards was when Ulrich took her family to see the exhibit.

'It was really cool (to see it in the library),' Ulrich said. 'It felt like I'm a real artist.'

The free art exhibit can be enjoyed through Saturday, March 31, at the Sandy Library, 38980 Proctor Blvd. The library is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 503-668-5537.

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