Youth art gallery brightens Glocester Town Hall

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NRI NOW photo by Dick Martin

GLOCESTER – Looking for a local art gallery to visit? Just stop in at Glocester Town Hall, where more than 100 pieces of art, from masks and pottery, to a variety of paintings and drawings, line the main corridor for all to enjoy.

“This is great,” said Town Clerk Jean Fecteau. “Many parents and grandparents have come in with their children and grandchildren to see the display.”

“The children take great pride in showing off what they have done,” said Fecteau. “I received many positive comments and thanks from residents. Ms. MacPhee, the local school Art Teacher,  spends many hours, with her helpers, setting up this display at Town Hall for quite a few years now.”

The artwork comes from grades 1-5 at both West Glocester and Fogarty Elementary schools. Coordinator and art teacher Erin MacPhee, who has been teaching art for more than 30 years in Glocester, explained the show actually started about 10 years ago as part of a national initiative called, “Youth Art Month.” The program encouraged teachers to bring student artwork to the public.

“The Town Hall is an amazing venue so many people get to view the work, and everyone who works there is so supportive,” said MacPhee.

She explained that she tries to get at least one submission from each student, but with space limitations and other complications, it is not always possible. Since March the show has changed slightly to accommodate other students’ works and to try to include everyone. Shortly, she said, ceramic artwork will be added.

Previously, MacPhee said, she used to hold an annual art show at the school, but the format didn’t give parents and others enough time to view the students’ efforts. The Town Hall venue opens the show up for not just a couple of days, but for weeks.

“I think it is so important for people to see how kids can really shine in areas other than academics,” said MacPhee. “In this era of standardized tests and scripted curriculums, we forget that many kids learn in different ways and have tremendous gifts to share.”

“My other core belief is that we should not underestimate how much children benefit from the arts,” the teacher said. “The arts are our first language as a human race. Before the written word man painted on caves, sang songs and told stories. Through art you can teach culture, history, science, and math. It’s all right there, and they love it.”

MacPhee said she could not have created the gallery without the help of her colleagues Pat McDermott and Lisa Giorgianni. The show will run through May.

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