Helena Elementary School art show wows
By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist
“I keep all the children’s art over the year, then when it’s time for the art show, I let them look at all their pictures and pick their favorite to put in the show,” said art teacher Alice Lobell, now teaching in her 23rd year. “My wonderful parent volunteers help label and mount one for every child in school.”
The show raises funds for the art department; the donations are used to purchase supplies and pay for the prize ribbons and end-of-year take home portfolios.
“Our parents are fabulous. We have averaged raising $300 each year,” she said.
Lobell brings in judges to select Best of Show winners and first, second and third place in every class. Every participant receives a green honorable mention ribbon.
“If a child says, ‘Someone said they didn’t like my picture,’ I ask them, ‘Do you like it?’” she said.
Lobell points out students need only please themselves and their teacher. This teaches ownership of their art and encourages them to feel good about their creation.
“I am now teaching the children of some of my former students. One former student told me she still has her portfolio and her art. Last year a parent/student told me, ‘Ms. Alice, you changed my life!’ That brought tears to my eyes.
“When the students first see the show hanging, their eyes just sparkle with excitement. Those expressions make it all worth it,” she said. “I have heard a younger child looking at an older child’s work and asking, ‘How did they do that?’ They feel proud of their efforts.”
Parent Tatiana Bingham, an immigration paralegal and a mom volunteer who helped during show week, said, “I come and volunteer as much as possible.” Her second grade daughter, Bianca Bingham, has placed first or won Best in Show in several art competitions.
Best of Show awards went to kindergarteners Christopher Kent and Cole Murphy, for their polka-dot and striped fish; and Bella Stephens for her teddy bear portrait. First grader Amelia Preston won for her still life with white flowers, as did Amelia Powell for her turreted castle. Second grader Jordan McMahan was awarded the purple ribbon for her dog portrait.
Laura Brookhart is a community columnist for the city of Helena and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.