Young artists interpret literature for museum

What do children think of when they think of literature?

The San Diego Museum of Art's biennial Young Art Program asked students to do just that and the artists' creativity ran wild, their favorite characters leaping off the page and into their paintings, sculptures and etchings.

The museum received 500 submissions of children's imaginative takes on Harry Potter, the monsters from "Where the Wild Things Are" and a certain spider named Charlotte. The vampires from "Twilight" stalked some artwork and even Tacky the Penguin made an appearance, courtesy of Solana Vista first-grader Malin Lytle's construction paper creation.

Amy Briere, Young Art coordinator, said she was very impressed with all of the children's interpretations of literature.

"We were really hoping the cross-curricular theme would allow more teachers to participate," Briere said.

Briere said sadly art is limited or disappearing from a lot of schools--to have a literary theme allows a classroom teacher to be able to integrate art into the curriculum.

Of the 500 received, 152 were chosen to go into the museum and 150 others are displayed at libraries throughout the county through May 31.

Works from La Jolla schools are at the Pacific Beach Taylor branch library.

Every work that R. Roger Rowe art teacher Janis Reeser submitted was accepted.

"You keep your fingers crossed that one or two things might make the show, but when they accepted all 18, I was totally surprised," Reeser said.

Second-graders made their own papers to bring texture to their Eric Carle-inspired works. Her kindergartners made little houses inspired by "A House is a House for Me," and sevent and eighth-graders made books.

Anissa Riviera's accordion-style book had beautiful portraits of all " The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" girls, with letters they might have sent in envelopes on the backs of the pages.

Hannah Williams' "Charlotte's Web" piece not only made the museum show, but was also featured in the museum's posters, invitations and brochures. Briere said it was chosen because it was so universally identifiable, the image of Wilbur looking up into a web that reads "Some Pig."

"It was a great opportunity to have my piece sent in, and I am so grateful it made it in the display," Williams said.

Also featured on many museum materials was a rabbit painted by Christina Martin of La Jolla Country Day, inspired by "Watership Down." La Jolla Country Day had 11 accepted pieces.

Del Mar Hills students Phillip Middleton and Aliza Stevenson had their artwork at the museum; fourth-grader Middleton's water color and crayon musician inspired by the book "This Jazzman," and fifth-grader Stevenson's ceramic sculpture of a grandmother with children on her lap, inspired by Pueblo folk tales.

"I loved seeing them so proud," said Nicole Nelson, Del Mar Hills art teacher. "They could say, 'My piece is on the wall and there's a Picasso in the next room.'" Nelson said the exhibit is just a small example of the joy she sees in her classroom every day.

At San Diego Museum of Art:

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