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Schools to showcase artwork of students

Local elementary schools are showing off students' talents in gallery-style art shows thanks to an Atlanta-based company. First ArtWorks frames art from each student and displays the art for parents to purchase during an art show at the school, then donates 20 percent of all the sales back to the school.

"I am a huge proponent of this program," said Laura Hughes, the principal of Dearing Elementary School. "The works of art are priceless, because of who does them."

Thomson Elementary held their first art show Monday evening. The gymnasium was transformed into a gallery, complete with partitioned walls covered in framed art. Parent volunteers served refreshments from a tray of cookies and a punch bowl filled to the brim, while music teacher Janie Blassingame completed the ambiance by playing a piano for background music.

Principal Anita Cummings said the event was well-attended by parents, especially those picking up their children from the after-school program. She said the event generated a lot of excitement in the children as they worked on the art and chose which picture to be framed. She said one family purchased five prints of the same picture.

Each picture is double matted in a 15- by 18-inch black frame with an acrylic glazing, a backing board and a hanger. Parents may purchase the original work of art for $29.95 plus tax. Additional copies of the same photo can be framed and purchased for $24.95 plus tax.

According to their website, First ArtWorks will return the unsold art to the school, minus the frame. Ms. Cummings said she plans to have some of the pictures framed and then hang them around the school, because the children did such a good job.

Norris Elementary School art teacher Elisa Smith hopes to have a good turn-out for the art show at Norris at the end of the month.

"We're real excited here at Norris," Ms. Smith said. "It makes the kids feel so important to have their art on display."

Ms. Smith said the school has had to pay nothing out of pocket to host the show. First ArtWorks provided the paper for the children to paint or color on and the framing packages. All the art will be by students in the school.

"The company printed individual invitations for each child with their art piece on it," she said. "It's just amazing what they have done."

The public is invited to the art show at Norris Elementary from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 31 in the school gym.

"We've got 450 pictures that are going to be matted and framed and displayed in the gymnasium," Ms. Smith said. "It's going to be a really big thing."

The Dearing Elementary art show will be from 4-6 p.m., Wednesday, May 7. Dr. Hughes said members of the faculty are submitting their art to the show, also.

"We can't wait to be framed," she quipped.

Web posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008

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