“Is that yours?” asked Prisk, a senior from Ishpeming High School. “It’s very nice.”
Smith’s picture was just one of dozens of pieces hung on the walls of the Ishpeming Public School Childcare Center. There were pieces inspired by the works of Claude Monet and Leonardo DaVinci; there were even self-portraits. Each piece was representative of the kind of art the preschoolers had been studying, and every piece was for sale.
“We’re selling the pieces because we are in need of a fence here,” said Doreen Bertucci, the childcare center’s director. “We’re hoping to help cover some of those costs with this art show.”
And it wasn’t just IHS seniors like Prisk and Kaitlyn Ketola — both helpers at the center — taking a gander at the drawings, paintings and bookmarks that were up for grabs in hopes of covering part of the $1,600 fence project cost. State Rep. Steve Lindberg, D-Marquette, was also in attendance.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing they are doing here,” he said. “This is a model preschool. This is my favorite part of my job, when I get to come to places like this and see the future. Without these kids, there is no future.”
Bertucci noted that it wasn’t just current students who were pitching in with the art side of the project. Matt Dryer, an employee of independent Oregon-based Dark Horse Comics, sent a sampling of art from his portfolio, including a drawing made when he wasn’t much older than the kids at the childcare center. Dryer is a former student of Bertucci’s.
“It was awfully nice of him to send those things to us,” said Bertucci.
Eighth-grade students from computer tech class at C.L. Phelps Middle School assisted with the show.
“These eighth-graders are doing a wonderful job mentoring these younger students,” commented Lindberg. “There isn’t enough interaction between the varying age groups anymore, so to see this type of mentoring is a great thing. It’s important for these younger kids to have someone to look up to.”
Bertucci said the study of art — which in this case had the students lying on their backs under their tables and drawing in imitation of Michelangelo at the Sistine Chapel — is important part of education.
“Too often, art has been thought of as a nice but rather non-essential part of education,” she said. “At the IPSCC, art has value in the development of every child. Through meaningful art experiences, our student are developing self esteem, creativity, imagination and fine motor skills. They also learn to cooperate with each other and appreciate each other’s work.”
For more information on the Ishpeming Public Schools Childcare Center, contact Bertucci at 485-2080.
Ishpeming High School seniors Katie Prisk (in red and white dress) and Kaitlyn Ketola watch as Hunter Troy Smith, 2, the son of Troy and Tricia Smith of Ishpeming, and siblings Jalynn Close, 5, and Tucker Close, 3, the children of Jamie and Christie Close of Ishpeming, gander at some artwork at the Ishpeming Public Schools Childcare Center Friday. (Journal photo by Sam Eggleston)