During the first week coming back from Spring Break, the Palmer Gallery at College Center is hosting an art exhibition of over 200 artworks by local students, celebrating the 32nd annual John Iyoya Children’s Art Show. For the first time in several years, the 2017’s show doesn’t coincide with the break, enabling the Vassar community to share the joy of seeing the children’s art.
According to the official record, this year’s show includes artwork by students from Overlook Primary School, Noxon Road Elementary School, G.W. Krieger Elementary School, Warring Magnet Academy of Science and Technology, Morse Young Child Magnet School, Hagan Elementary School, Nassau Elementary School, Lagrange Middle School, Todd Middle School and Wimpfheimer Nursery School at Vassar College.
The Iyoya Art Show is an important tradition that honors the memory of John Iyoya ’83, a student in Elementary Education, whose love of art, passion for teaching and care for children inspired the art show. Administrative Assistant of the Education Department Dayle Rebelein introduced, “The Education Department is the sponsor of the show and we work with Campus Activities to host art teachers in displaying their students’ artwork in the Palmer gallery each year.”
The opening reception was held on the afternoon of Mar. 26. The Palmer Gallery brimmed with color, filling with more art pieces than ever. The children worked with diverse genres such as collages, paper quilling, watercolor, graphite and papier-mâché, expressing heart-warming themes and powerful messages.
Family and friends of the young artists joined to participate in the celebration of art and creativity. Proud parents took pictures of children smiling in front of their creation. The teachers on duty took the opportunity to discuss the outstanding artistic accomplishments of the children with their parents.
In rekindling Iyoya’s creative spirit, his classmates contributed funds to establish a prize given to a senior student in Elementary Education who, like Iyoya, is adept in applying aesthetics to classroom teaching. Rebelein revealed, “This year’s winner of the Iyoya scholarship is Chealin Won ’17. Chealin is an International Studies major who has completed all the requirements to earn her elementary education teaching certification upon graduation.”
Won discussed the importance of fostering creativity in children, saying, “As an educator who understands education as a tool for liberation, all forms of creative art is so incredibly valuable. Personally I think freedom and creativity are intricately intertwined—as you can’t have one without the other.”
Won then spoke of her experience in working with children and employing ways to integrate art into teaching, “Even though school day can be super limiting, with short periods and not enough planning time, I really tried my best to incorporate creative art in various aspects of my teaching pedagogy. I would have students create symbols for learning new vocabulary and create comic illustrations as a form of communicating the main idea to me. I would even encourage them to act out various scenes from the class reading as a form of assessment.
“So yes, it can be challenging and difficult to ‘find time’ to incorporate creative art into the classroom but with a little imagination, it brings so much life and vibrant color into the classroom every day. It also pushes me to think of my students as complex 3-dimensional individuals as art can be a form of expression for so many individuals.”
The local teachers devoted time and passion in collecting the children’s art and displaying them, striving to provide their students a perfect exhibit. Art teacher from the Poughkeepsie School District Pat Solomon recounted the preparing process behind the scenes.
“I pick several students from each class at Morse who excel in showing initiative, creativity and citizenship. Each piece is framed and labeled. Invitations are printed at Vassar and forwarded to Morse. I then write to the families what will be showing by their children. They are distributed, by me personally congratulating students. That is by far the best part of the show—seeing their pride and delight in being selected.”
The Iyoya Art Show is beneficial for the local students to showcase their work and is essential Andrea Yang Reporter FEATURES This painting is by Alexandria Joseph, a 6th Grader in Michele Gory’s class at Todd Middle School. Other schools in the Vassar community featured students’ work in this exhibit. Courtesy of Michele Gory On March 26th, the Palmer Gallery held an opening reception for the Iyoya Art Show. Family and friends of the students attended to celebrate their artistic achievements. Andrea Yang/The Miscellany News for the community. The teachers are glad to have this opportunity to celebrate their students’ accomplishments.
Art teacher at Todd Middle School Michele Gorey stated, “Every year it has been an honor to exhibit my students’ work at the Iyoya show and it is very challenging to select artwork because I never want to leave any student out whose work should be exhibited, but there is only so much room!”
She noted, “This show gives students the opportunity to understand what it means to be part of a bigger community and helps support the arts in our culture. Some of our students have gone on to further education in the arts and art careers after leaving Spackenkill, so that shows like these are invaluable in supporting the career paths they may choose. They also feel a sense of pride in being selected for a show in which there are limited numbers. Our students are very fortunate to be in a district which supports the art program by supplying materials like paint and clay, which allows for great learning and creativity.”
Solomon excitedly remarked, “I look forward to the show every year. It is an incredible opportunity for the students, some may not have an opportunity like this again. It is always a priority to celebrate the accomplishments of my students!”
Rebelein proudly concluded, “It’s one of the small events that happen on this campus that has been impacting local school kids for generations! Parents come to the show to see their kid’s work who remember being in the show themselves as kids.”