Work of 2 CES artists on display at State Capitol

The artwork of two Cartersville Elementary students has found an audience at the state level.

Fifth-grader Kaitlyn Gamble-Dixon and third-grader Holly Dufrene have had pieces of art hanging in the Capitol Art Exhibit, co-sponsored by the Georgia Art Education Association and the Office of the Secretary of State, at the Georgia State Capitol since Feb. 21. 

"The Capitol Art Exhibit is an opportunity for teachers to exhibit their students' work in a location where state representatives can easily view the work of art students K-12th grade from all over the state," CES art teacher Jennifer Turem said. "The purpose of the exhibit is to share with our legislators and the public the exceptional, creative ability of Georgia's students. It is the premier event of Youth Art Month in Georgia — March — and is the largest student exhibit in the state."

Kaitlyn, 11, is happy her monoprint titled "Feelings" was included in the exhibit.

"I think it is awesome that artists get to express their art," she said. "What I would like to add is thank you, everyone, for inspiring me to do what I'm best at." 

Her family was "what inspired me to do the piece I did," Kaitlyn said. 

"I just thought how happy they would be," she said. 

Holly's entry was a watercolor she painted of a dog. 

"Someone accidentally bumped my arm while coloring the eye, and it made me have to make the dog a boxer," she said. 

As for having her piece in the exhibit, the 9-year-old, whose inspiration was her best friend, Rowan, "and her adorable sense of humor," said she "never thought my artwork would be that good." 

Turem said the exhibition is a "wonderful opportunity for our students and our school to be able to show some of our artwork in Atlanta."

"I consider it an honor, and I am very proud of my students whose work is being displayed in Atlanta at the Capitol building," she said.

The GAEA allows every art teacher who is a member to submit two pieces of art from his or her school for the exhibit, Turem said. 

"The decision of which two pieces to include in the exhibit is left up to each teacher," she said, noting she elected to choose work from one fifth-grader and one third-grader. "It was a very difficult decision to choose only two pieces of art when we have nearly 1,000 students here at our school. While I have many pieces of art to choose from, I decided to choose two pieces that were the most original, most creative, colorful and were executed with neatness and good craftsmanship." 

Turem settled on Kaitlyn's and Holly's work, which they created last fall, after viewing numerous possibilities.

"I chose these two pieces because of all the artwork I had to choose from, these two seemed to stand out the most and are works that really grab the viewer's attention when displayed among many others," she said.

The instructor said she took the pieces to the Capitol on Feb. 17 and hung them in the exhibit herself "so I was able to see it on display with all of the other work from around our state."

"It was fantastic to see how equally talented our students are compared with the great work from other students across the state," she said.

Holly and Turem couldn't attend the Feb. 21 opening of the exhibit, but Kaitlyn was able to go see her artwork on display.

"It felt great," she said. 

Turem said she doesn't know when the exhibition will end.

"There is no official 'take-down' day for the exhibit because they often move the artwork around to different floors of the Department of Education so that many people have an opportunity to view the work," she said. "I will be called by the end of Youth Art Month to go pick up the artwork."

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