Tommie Barfield Elementary held its annual celebration of the artistic and writing endeavors of its students last week at “Authors and Artists Night.”
In addition to the displays of original student art throughout the school, this year’s event included a booking signing by sea life author and artist Janeen Mason, as well as lessons in chalk art by Evyn Graef, an award-winning artist and junior atNaples High School. Attendees also enjoyed musical performances by the Marco Island Strummers, the TBE Morning Musicians, Mr. Ed Laudise’s fifth grade class and various individual students playing the piano, violin and guitar.
“About 15 years ago, enthusiastic PTO members and teachers decided to invite authors and artists to interact with our students and it’s been the culminating event of the year ever since,” explains Dr. Jory Westberry, TBE’sprincipal.
“Each (student) writes an original book and creates many beautiful works of art that are included in the books and posted all over the school. Parents and community members are invited to attend and share in the joy of creativity,” she adds.
Students received pre-event visits from Mason and Graef during the school day. While Mason presented her works to students, Graef held impromptu art classes in the breezeway.She drew outlines of some of Mason’s artwork, and students spent their recess time coloring in the drawings.
Both author and artist were impressed with the event. “It’s important to let kids express themselves,” notes Graef. “An event like this allows them to express their creativity and show-off a little for their parents.”
Mason agrees, and appreciates the efforts the faculty, staff and parents of TBE students – some whostood in line for at least an hour to meet with her and have her sign their book.
“I write and illustrate picture books because I know this to be a very important media,” Mason says. “You see, picture books are a child’s first exposure to art and literature — powerful ju-ju in our world of ever accelerating technology.”
“It’s clear TBE honors the power of the arts to provide a complete education,” she adds.