Art Room students get a chance to shine

December 19, 2012 Denise Romano
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Students at the Art Room got a special treat on Thursday, December 13.

Professional hip hop artist, filmmaker and art curator Derrick B. Harden from the Lyons Wier Gallery in Chelsea visited the class, asking them to team up in pairs and draw a self-portrait of themselves with their favorite animal. The finished products will be displayed in his gallery sometime later this month at a brunch reception to which the students and their parents are invited.

“They don’t have to finish today, but we will conversate about what they will do,” Harden explained. “At the end of the month, they will take one wall in the Chelsea gallery.”

Leigh Holliday, founder of the Art Room, said this set of middle school students are “very serious” about their work and this will give them insight into the professional side of the job.

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“It’s an opportunity for them to get a fresh perspective from a working artist,” she explained. “I want to show kids that it is possible [to be a professional artist].”

Harden said the idea was simply “fun” to him. He greeted the class asking them what they liked and did not like about art. No one had much to say about the latter.

The budding artists were instructed to use the same paper, or canvas, as their partner.

“Share, but complement each other’s imagination,” Harden said. “Art is egotistical, but today you can pair with your partner.”

Holliday added, “Today we are going to challenge ourselves [with] two perspectives.”

Students started their projects in no time.

Justin Loughran decided that he would draw a chameleon. “I like reptiles, basically,” he said.

Oscar Van Orden chose a few different animals, including a sea turtle, snake, lizard and alligator.

Students at Table 2 had quite an eclectic mix: a penguin, a giraffe, a turtle, a fish and a narwhal.

Silvia Mancini drew a butterfly while Caitlin Martin chose a rabbit.

The Art Room is located at 8710 Third Avenue.

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