GEC Hosts Annual Art Show

August 15, 2018 Jaime DeJesus
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It was an oceanic work of art.

The Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC) held its annual Preschool Art Show at the Carrie Mastronardi Early Childhood Education Center, 1273 57th Street, on Wednesday, August 9.

Entitled “A Big Splash!” the exhibit was ocean-themed. Students three to five-years-old spent weeks collaborating to create several pieces art to display for their friends and family.

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“This is always very impressive to me because it shows the creativity of the teachers and how that benefits children with developmental disabilities,” said GEC Executive Director and CEO Paul Cassone. “The fact they are able to use their eyes and are able to touch, feel and create these multidimensional art projects it’s a beautiful thing.”

Program Director at the center Jolene Gunther-Doherty said that a grant arising out of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) allowed the children to participate in the art program that helps them in all aspects of growth.

“It’s multi-sensory. It involves cognition and language, and incorporates motor and social skills. It’s just a wonderful program,” she said. “Kids and their families get excited. For our six-week summer program, the theme was oceans. Our students were studying sea life. Every year, we’re impressed with the work he’s done for his children.”

This year, “Every class got a different animal,” said teacher James Bonavita. “We worked using different sensory mediums like cellophane and tissue paper. It helps them focus and stimulates their brains. The kids come down here and are happy. They love art. They show how they feel. I’m very proud of them.”

This summer, 152 kids participated in the program.

“Every year we do it,” Gunther-Doherty said, “the kids look forward to it. They love coming down and seeing the artwork that they see their friends doing. It gives the parents idea of things their kids can do at home as well. Every child is an artist.”

“They enjoy the work and learn a lot in doing it, and there’s a sense of pride that they have in seeing their work displayed this way,” Cassone added. “For the parents, it’s very important to be able to come and see the great work that they create.”

Of all the art, a giant whale students created utilizing a variety of materials was the highlight as all the students helped make it.

“With the whale, a bunch of classes collaborated,” Bonavita said. “We rolled the paper, painted it, put textures on it and then cut it out. It took a week.”

Parents in attendance also loved the work.

“Everything looks so nice,” said Gabby Idelfonso after looking at her son’s work.


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