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South Effingham Elementary jump starts art program
0423 sees art bros
Benjamin Bradley, 9, and his brother Chase, 10, showed off their paintings at the South Effingham Elementary School art show. - photo by Photo by Calli Arnold

The cafeteria at South Effingham Elementary School was transformed into an art gallery Tuesday night as parents, students and staff came out to see and buy student artwork.

At the SEES art show, pieces from each child and grade were displayed in double-matted frames and were selling for $30 a piece. Art teacher Paul Petit teamed up with Jump Start Fundraising to put on the show. After expenses are recouped from Jump Start, who framed and set up the “gallery,” money raised will buy art supplies for SEES students.

This is the second year of art in Effingham elementary schools, and Petit is pumping up the program as much as possible.

“I’m thrilled to have art at the elementary level in Effingham, when art education is crucial for children that age, when they are developing cognitive skills and hand-eye coordination. It stimulates right brain activity,” said Petit.

Each grade had different assignments for their watercolor paintings and only used red, blue, yellow, black and white, making them mix their colors. Kindergarteners made still-life portraits where they had to think about drawing objects in front and behind each other as well as how to pattern negative space.

Third grade projects were in the style of a Georgia folk painter named Cornbread who painted native animals to promote protecting their habitats as people began to flee the cities for the suburbs. Like Cornbread, they painted native animals with large heads and eyes.

Fourth and fifth graders’ projects were tied to their social studies lessons. Fourth graders learning about early New England settlers drew whaling ships in the same fashion as sailors making scrimshaws out of whale jawbones during that time.

Petit placed an easel from home and a few decorations on stage so that the children could pose with their artwork as if they were painting while parents took photos. Students ran up to him throughout the evening, introducing him to their family, and taking pictures with him as well.

“I really wanted the experience of a gallery for the children,” Petit said.