Art show displays “Durham’s Finest”

Jan. 06, 2013 @ 11:09 PM


The latest art show, “Durham’s Finest” at the North Carolina Central University Art Museum opened Sunday with record-breaking crowds, and many of the artists and their teachers were on hand to talk about their art and their lives.

It was the opening of the Durham Public Schools art show held each year at the museum. About 600 people attended the afternoon show that displayed the best four pieces of art selected from each of Durham’s public schools.

Kenneth Rodgers, director of the NCCU Art Museum, said it’s the 27th year the university has shown the students’ art.

“It is truly an amazing experience,” Rodger said about the show’s opening. “Nothing is more satisfying than seeing the reaction on the faces of these student artists when they come face to face with their work.”

Having their art displayed in a real museum is thrill that many students won’t forget.

Logan McElroy, 7 and a second grader from Forest View Elementary School, had his piece called “Last of the Summer Flowers” displayed in the show.

First putting a blue wash on pink paper, he used crayons and markers to draw sunflowers, a cactus and other flowers and included lady bugs and caterpillars on the stems.

“Well, I didn’t want to make them all the same height so there’s small and high ones,” he said.

His mother, Jennifer McElroy, said it’s been a great experience for her son and has given him extra confidence.

“He’s very proud,” she said. “We’re very proud of him. He’s loves art, and he’s always loved art since he started elementary school.”

Lauryn Henderson, a second grader at Mangum Elementary School, showed her art piece, called, “Me in my Sleeping Bag.” The blue and green sleeping bag is decorated with stars, with a painting of her head peeping out the top.

Henderson was a little shy about talking about her art, but she wore a dazzling pink dress with sparkles on it and a chic black velvet bolero.

Joseph Alston, 11, from R.N. Harris Elementary School, discussed his piece, which was based on his class’s study of the Middle Ages.

“We picked out a letter so we could draw a picture for it,” he said. “I picked “M” so I drew monkeys and mountains and different things that started with “M.”

Alison Andrews, 18 and a senior at Durham School of the Arts, had a photograph she took of a friend selected as one of four pieces of art from the school. It shows her friend’s face wrapped in Saran Wrap.

“I was really excited,” she said about having her piece selected for the show. “I’m in the AP photo class, and I’m the only AP student in my school that got it, so I was really excited.”

Faculty from the art department at NCCU served as judges for the show, and they selected the works of Michelle Peralta, a fifth grader at George Watts Montessori School, and Jose Ramirez Duran, a first grader from Spring Valley, as the winners of the elementary school category. Mikaela Howard, an eighth grader from Rogers-Herr Middle School, won the middle school award, and Gia Smith, a 12th grader from Northern High School won the high school award.

NCCU offered to purchase the art from the award winners for $50 each, and it was up to the parents to decide if they wanted to sell their child’s work of art, said Mary Casey, director of K-12 Arts Education for DPS.

Students who received honorable mention for their art included Ximena Colopy, Kendal Cates, Jamel Campbell and Moriah Powery.

Just being picked for the show is an honor, and it’s a select group of art that is displayed, Casey said.

The art will be on display Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. until Feb. 10.

Casey praised the art teachers from each of the schools for putting together the show.