Students at Guild for Exceptional Children create “Art Through Literature”

The Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC) hosted a preschool art show entitled “Art Through Literature” on Friday, March 30 at its Carrie Mastronardi Early Childhood Center (1273 57th Street).

The event featured creative artwork created by the GEC’s preschoolers, aged three to five years old, under the direction of their art teacher James Bonavito.

Bonavito says, “This has been a wonderful experience, working hands-on with different mediums. It is important for the kids to use different mediums in order to enhance their brain activity.”

The mission of the GEC is to help children living with developmental disabilities, and an art program such as this is instrumental in the effort, according to Jolene Gunther-Doherty, the school’s principal, who says that art helps develop everything from fine motor skills to language and social/emotional skills.

“From the simplest project on the study of the line, they can learn things. It’s open ended; they discuss and tell what their picture is about. Group projects help them learn to work with their peers and learn how to share,” said Gunther-Doherty.

The art work was inspired by different books the children had read, such as Old Dog Baby Baby, Lucy Ladybug and This is the Sunflower. Another source of inspiration was the book If You Want to See a Whale by author Julie Fogliano, who was invited to the special event.

Fogliano read her book to the students, who looked on in amazement as the words from the story came alive through their author.

“This is the best feeling ever. This is the whole reason I write children’s books – to inspire them. Then they can go to places they never could imagine,” remarked Fogliano.

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