Twenty-six youngsters were darlings of their local art world a week ago Tuesday when their families came to the Secaucus Public Library to see their work. The work had been part of a library exhibit since December, when library staff decided that instead of only showing adults’ creations, they’d also like to display those of local kids. On Tuesday, the show closed with a reception. “We wanted the children to know that we value their work as much as the adults,” said Library Director Steffens. Visiting family and friends viewed the work on the walls of the Panasonic Room at the Paterson Plank Road facility. The participating students, who submitted their work through their schools, used tools from poster paints to acrylics, to pen and charcoal.
Zoe Pero, 8, said the two collages she did for the show were inspired by Ronald Kidd’s children’s book called “Cinderella: The Runaway Wand.” She said she used her friends’ colored stickers that were faces of Disney characters, put them on paper, and drew bodies underneath the heads.
Pero took her theme from the book because she liked that the “little mice took the wand and turned themselves into different things.”
“One mouse changed himself into a dog and chased the cat [in the story],” she said. “I like drawing. You can use your imagination and make things beautiful.”
Cassandra Penna, 13, used characters from Kingdom Hearts, a hybrid action/role playing video game. The game combines characters and settings from Disney’s animations with those from a Japanese game developer’s role playing game series called Final Fantasy.
Penna said that one of her drawings was of the main character, Sora, who leaves the island where he and two other children have been confined all their lives. He goes to another place called Traverse Town, where he meets Disney characters. The other drawing is of Alice, one of the characters from a Disney-based world called Wonderland.
“I took the characters and drew them in my own way, tilting them a bit,” she said. “With art you can take ideas that are in your mind and put it in the picture. I make it my own in a different way.”
Vandita Tejwani, 11, said she used artwork she did last year in a class at Clarendon school. She said art teacher Dawn Brassel had the sixth grade class use a wet brown paper bag, crumpled it, and them laid it flat to dry. The students then picked subject matter and used bright colors to paint Aztec-like images.
Tejwani said she used birds and nature as a theme. There are flowers and exotic birds on her art piece. The neon quality of the colors jumps out at the viewer from the dark paper background.
“Painting and drawing is fun – I like doing art,” she said. “It’s great to bring my friends and family to look at all of it.”
Giving the kids a chance
Anthony Scala said that he was very excited about the event. His daughter Victoria, 5, had two large paintings of her family in the show. Even though the youngster was shy, her work had a boldness and sure sense of color. The brushstrokes are free and spirited. Scala, Sr., said that he always wanted to be an architect, but due to family circumstances, he could not fulfill his dream.
“I became a contractor instead, but I always drew, and now Victoria is doing the same,” he said. “I want her to have the chances I didn’t get.”
Steffens said there would be opportunities on the weekend throughout the year where students can share what materials they use, how they use them, and where they purchase the supplies.
“The kids can network like adult artists and share what they know,” she said. “Every child is a first-prize winner here. We wanted an environment where they would be encouraged.”