News

Artistic successes

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

While sunshine made a cameo appearance last Saturday afternoon, several people took in the art of 139 students from the Federal Way school district.

The district’s PTSA hosted the art exhibit at Todd Beamer High School in one of its larger rooms, with windows facing west letting the sun stream in on the paintings, photos and writings of the students.

Each year, the National PTSA Reflections program challenges students to create works that are judged at the local, national and state levels. Local PTSAs select students from their areas to compete on the state level and finally nationally. This year’s theme that students had to incorporate in their art was “I wonder why.”

Federal Way will send 24 entries to the state competition.

The number of students participating this year was down from previous ones, said Novella Fraser, president of Federal Way PTSA. Suzanne Smith and Grace Rawsthorne, also members of the organization, attributed the drop to the district placing a smaller emphasis on the arts.

Smith recalled that when her daughter was an elementary school student six years ago, one school would have as many submissions as the districtwide exhibit had this year.

Madison Nesbitt, a Meredith Hill Elementary School student, entered two poems in this year’s exhibit. One was from a collection she wrote for her grandmother, titled “Snow.” Madison announced to her mother she had decided to write the collection.

“She’s very independent,” Sandy Nesbitt said of her daughter.

Madison took time to admire the work of other artists, noting she enjoyed Haley Ward’s painting of a rooster that asked why his friends were eaten. Nesbitt also said a pencil drawing caught her eye.

Students had several categories to choose from, including painting, photography, video and film, music, dance and literature, Fraser said.

Emily Tolle and her family were taking in her painting and the exhibit on Saturday. A fifth-grade student at Adelaide Elementary, Tolle painted a flying bird over a grassy area. Among the blades of grass in the foreground was a small snail.

Painting the bird was an easy choice. It was the “first thing that came to my head,” Tolle said.

The white bird, sky, grass and snail were painted in acrylics and took a week to complete. Adding the snail was inspired by Tolle’s love of the animated television show “Spongebob Squarepants” and the main character’s pet, Gary the snail.

Tolle isn’t the only painter in the family. Her mother, Karen, has been one since high school.

Karen has watched her daughter’s abilities grow in the last year. Emily entered the Reflections competition last year, too, and her mother said this year’s painting shows more texture and movement. And, she added, the fact Emily painted the wings going out of the picture shows a greater understanding of the art.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.

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