School exhibit showcases latest art strokes of genius

Students in kindergarten through grade eight at P.S./I.S. 192 again had the joy of seeing their artwork hung in a museum-styled exhibit as The Magnet School for Math and Science Inquiry celebrated its 10th annual art show.

In unit studies this year taught by Visual Arts Teacher LeeAnne Thristino, each class learned about various artists while using diverse techniques and mediums.

Thristino – recently recognized as an Outstanding Teacher of the Arts in District 20 – came up with the idea of creating walls utilizing a string to allow for more display space within the school’s gym.

The exhibit was displayed from April 29 through May 4. Some students had two or three pieces displayed, but everybody had at least one, with approximately 350 works on view.

Since Thristino only meets with classes once or twice a week, she tries to expose them to as much as possible.

“It’s not like other junior high schools where they may major in drawing and they hone in on those experiences. Here, I try to give them a lot of different opportunities to explore different mediums and techniques,” said Thristino.

Thristino noted that parents loved the exhibit through and through.

“I think they’re surprised at the way it’s displayed and the way that the children can do artwork. It may not be what they see going on at home, because mine is a structured environment where they’re learning — a lot of times by step-by-step — so I think they’re very surprised at the ability of their own children,” said Thristino.

Thristino does certain projects yearly, at times switching it up. A favorite of hers were the Jim Dine-inspired hearts, created by sixth graders using paint and chalk pastels. Another was the third graders’ Gustav Klimt trees project, in which she said students showed impressive individuality.

“The trees show through for the students,” Thristino said. “I’ll teach them the lesson and give them the guidelines, but their own personality comes out and you see how all the trees are –that they’re not cookie-cutter and they’re all different.”

When the display comes down, all the work goes home with the students. Jahmi Daley, said she looked forward to that.

“I like [mine] a lot,” said Daley, on her sculpture made out of hangers, stockings, plaster and acrylic paint. “I can’t wait to take it home.”

The school credits visual arts for helping its students develop creativity, independence and self-sense – three characteristics that Thristino was confident the exhibit displayed.

“I’m very lucky to have the job that I do because I truly love what I do and I’m happy working with this age group,” Thristino said. “I have grades K through eight and it’s challenging, but it’s also rewarding for the artwork that’s produced.”

P.S./I.S. 192 is located at 4715 18th Avenue.

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