By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Preschool children throughout Bristol will showcase what they have created with “passion and purpose” during the annual Community Art Show next month.
The art show will take place on Tuesday, May 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Imagine Nation, A Museum Early Learning Center, where the public can view an exhibit of artwork created by preschool children. This year’s theme is “Create With Passion and Purpose.”
All preschool children and kindergarten students who attend the spring art show at Imagine Nation will receive a small gift while supplies last.
During the free event, community members will not only view artwork of the Board of Education’s preschool programs, but will also see art pieces made by other preschool programs from throughout Bristol. From community to faith-based to not-for-profit Pre-K programs, the art show includes participation from a variety of preschools.
School Readiness Grant Manager Mary-Alice Petrucelli-Timek said the event serves as an opportunity for students and teachers of every program to learn from each other.
“Every year we have more participation, and the participation we have is at such a higher level,” said Petrucelli-Timek.
“There’s so many different techniques being shown,” said Karen Pac, who serves as an “artilerista” at Imagine Nation’s Early Learning Center. “There’s a lot of things that any family can do art at any time, with anything.”
All year long, students of Imagine Nation’s Early Learning Center have been preparing for the spring art show by delving into different projects like observational drawing, printmaking, clay and watercolors.
Every classroom also chose a particular art technique or artist, said Pac. One class even made a chandelier from found objects.
“They’re learning a great deal, and every lesson has been built on off the previous one,” said Pac.
The infants and toddlers also tapped into their creativity through abstract art. They all used their hands, feet, toes and elbows to make paintings on a 16-by-20-inch canvas, which the art show will display.
“They’re like sponges—they really understand it and they love it,” said Pac.
“They’ve had art pieces in the show before, but this is the first time they’ve really…had experiences with real, authentic materials,” added Imagine Nation Assistant Director Sara Castle.
The creativity does not end at Imagine Nation, as participants and community members are invited across the street to the Board of Education on Church Street where the show will feature artwork of Bristol Public School students from kindergarten to grade 12.
“Just the kids in just our program have older siblings who will be represented across the street, so it’s a real family affair,” said Castle.
Every year, families of the students who participate in the art show also get involved. This year, Imagine Nation’s Early Learning Center gave families a puzzle piece to decorate with the theme, “What our family loves.” Once decorated and submitted, the goal is to assemble all 150 puzzle pieces together for the art show.
The idea for this project stemmed from Tim Kelly, an artist in New York City.
“It has actually grown all over the United States and all over the world,” said Castle.
Other families also had an opportunity to express themselves through creativity cans that were donated to Imagine Nation by Faber-Castell. Every family who participates in the art show received a creativity can, which includes a variety of art materials for collages.
“It’s something that we’ve used in family art projects in the past,” said Castle. “This year we’re going to give them to everybody who participates in the art show.”
A partnership between Imagine Nation, the Bristol School Readiness Council and the Bristol Early Childhood Alliance, the art show will feature other activities to engage children and families. While the Bristol School Readiness Council and BECA will provide healthy snacks, families will have a chance to learn more about centralized registration for kindergarten—and to explore the world of literacy through the WOW Bookmobile, which will be available at the event.
Planned six months in advance every year, the art show sees involvement from other stakeholders, including the Bristol Garden Club, the Department of Children and Families, teachers and over a dozen volunteers from all walks of life.
The Community Art Show will take place on Tuesday, May 2, 6 to 8 p.m. at Imagine Nation, A Museum Early Learning Center, located at 1 Pleasant St., Bristol and the Bristol Board of Education, 129 Church St., Bristol.
Email lcapobianco@ BristolObserver.com