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Life Lessons Artfully Presented at Bowsky Elementary

Nov. 16, 2007 — Doctors, dentists and lawyers — make way! It's time to explore careers in cake decorating, toy design, interior decorating, vehicle graphics and more, says Chinwe Osaze, art teacher and brainchild behind the Art Careers Expo, held Friday at Yvonne E. Milliner-Bowsky Elementary School.
For the last two months, Osaze has taught fourth through sixth graders to think beyond a paintbrush and canvas when it comes to art. On her class bulletin board is a list of 27 careers, from cake decorating to cartooning. Each student was assigned the task of selecting a career and exploring it through research, collages, reports, PowerPoint presentations and, finally, interviews — which sixth graders conducted with the very people who do the art.
The culmination was Friday's Art Careers Expo, to which the sixth graders invited 28 exhibitors who set up tables in the school's courtyard and showed their work to class after class of curious kindergarteners through sixth graders.
"No, I haven't seen anything quite like this," said Betty Mahoney, executive director of the V.I. Council on the Arts, who had been invited to speak to students. The convergence of so many different types of artists — some demonstrating wood carving; others displaying their art on cars, canvasses and in cartoon drawings; and others taking hammers to construct frames for art pieces — offered an amazing teaching opportunity, Mahoney said.
"If there was no art," she told a gathering of sixth graders, "there would be no music, no television, no movies, no Game Boys. It's not just a piece of sculpture or a painting. We cannot effectively live without the arts. Keep that in mind as you go through the exhibits today."
"I just love this one," cooed Keinesha Potter, whose first-grade hand waved across a giant decal atop the hood of a car. "He looks like he's a pigeon."
In fact, he's more like an angel with eagle wings — designed by Ashley Allen, CEO of Smooth Kreationz, which specializes in multipurpose graphic arts. Allen started out in the culinary arts and morphed into graphic arts, including vehicle decorations.
"It’s not such a shift," Allen said, gesturing to one of the two decal-laden cars he had on display at the expo. "This is like a plate presentation. The same thing we do to a plate to make it appealing, we do to the car — nice colors, nice balance."
Nearby, Claire Ochoa gave second graders a lesson in what it takes to be the owner of Gallery St. Thomas. Pointing to a painting by Robin Robertson, she told the children, "In order for Ms. Robertson to paint, she likes me to sell her paintings for her. That means I have to know how to sell. I have to know how to work on a computer. I have to know how to write, because sometimes I write articles. And I have to know how to take pictures."
Jeleese Barthelemy learned what it takes to be in the theater business, thanks to time spent interviewing Bethany Burgess-Smith, director of education for Pistarckle Theater.
"I learned that a theater has to do a lot of hard work," Barthelemy said as Burgess-Smith nodded in the background. "If you have to do a 30-second commercial, it would be for six hours that you'd work with the camera."
In addition to learning how much effort goes into art and the variety of careers artistic expression affords, Afrikan Southwell, a woodcarver, said there's more to understand.


Some young students eagerly watch woodworker Afrikan Southwell.

"Art should be taken from a holistic perspective. Most young people don't know what kind of tree this is from," he said as he handled one of his mahogany creations, "that it has medicinal properties, that it can provide fuel and clothing."
Osaze echoed Southwell, saying art is an opportunity for all kinds of lessons.
"Through art I can teach them reading, writing, math and personal relationships," Osaze said. "We talked about being gracious hosts, getting people parked and escorted into the school. I wanted students to meet people in the community and make contacts in the community."
"The children seemed like they were thrilled and learned a lot," she continued. "They asked awesome questions and were really in tune and interested. I'm really proud of them."
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Nov. 16, 2007 -- Doctors, dentists and lawyers -- make way! It's time to explore careers in cake decorating, toy design, interior decorating, vehicle graphics and more, says Chinwe Osaze, art teacher and brainchild behind the Art Careers Expo, held Friday at Yvonne E. Milliner-Bowsky Elementary School.
For the last two months, Osaze has taught fourth through sixth graders to think beyond a paintbrush and canvas when it comes to art. On her class bulletin board is a list of 27 careers, from cake decorating to cartooning. Each student was assigned the task of selecting a career and exploring it through research, collages, reports, PowerPoint presentations and, finally, interviews -- which sixth graders conducted with the very people who do the art.
The culmination was Friday's Art Careers Expo, to which the sixth graders invited 28 exhibitors who set up tables in the school's courtyard and showed their work to class after class of curious kindergarteners through sixth graders.
"No, I haven't seen anything quite like this," said Betty Mahoney, executive director of the V.I. Council on the Arts, who had been invited to speak to students. The convergence of so many different types of artists -- some demonstrating wood carving; others displaying their art on cars, canvasses and in cartoon drawings; and others taking hammers to construct frames for art pieces -- offered an amazing teaching opportunity, Mahoney said.
"If there was no art," she told a gathering of sixth graders, "there would be no music, no television, no movies, no Game Boys. It's not just a piece of sculpture or a painting. We cannot effectively live without the arts. Keep that in mind as you go through the exhibits today."
"I just love this one," cooed Keinesha Potter, whose first-grade hand waved across a giant decal atop the hood of a car. "He looks like he's a pigeon."
In fact, he's more like an angel with eagle wings -- designed by Ashley Allen, CEO of Smooth Kreationz, which specializes in multipurpose graphic arts. Allen started out in the culinary arts and morphed into graphic arts, including vehicle decorations.
"It’s not such a shift," Allen said, gesturing to one of the two decal-laden cars he had on display at the expo. "This is like a plate presentation. The same thing we do to a plate to make it appealing, we do to the car -- nice colors, nice balance."
Nearby, Claire Ochoa gave second graders a lesson in what it takes to be the owner of Gallery St. Thomas. Pointing to a painting by Robin Robertson, she told the children, "In order for Ms. Robertson to paint, she likes me to sell her paintings for her. That means I have to know how to sell. I have to know how to work on a computer. I have to know how to write, because sometimes I write articles. And I have to know how to take pictures."
Jeleese Barthelemy learned what it takes to be in the theater business, thanks to time spent interviewing Bethany Burgess-Smith, director of education for Pistarckle Theater.
"I learned that a theater has to do a lot of hard work," Barthelemy said as Burgess-Smith nodded in the background. "If you have to do a 30-second commercial, it would be for six hours that you'd work with the camera."
In addition to learning how much effort goes into art and the variety of careers artistic expression affords, Afrikan Southwell, a woodcarver, said there's more to understand.

Some young students eagerly watch woodworker Afrikan Southwell.

"Art should be taken from a holistic perspective. Most young people don't know what kind of tree this is from," he said as he handled one of his mahogany creations, "that it has medicinal properties, that it can provide fuel and clothing."
Osaze echoed Southwell, saying art is an opportunity for all kinds of lessons.
"Through art I can teach them reading, writing, math and personal relationships," Osaze said. "We talked about being gracious hosts, getting people parked and escorted into the school. I wanted students to meet people in the community and make contacts in the community."
"The children seemed like they were thrilled and learned a lot," she continued. "They asked awesome questions and were really in tune and interested. I'm really proud of them."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.