As of last weekend, visitors to the children’s section of the Petaluma Regional Library will be treated to a brand new art exhibit full of bright smiling faces, eye-catching colors, and vibrant energetic poses, all courtesy of Mrs. Hendrick’s second-grade class at Loma Vista Immersion Academy.
One photo shows a boy with his arms out like an airplane. Another features a girl waving a hand excitedly in the air. Some kids are grinning broadly with their arms in the air, while some are more subdued and defiant, their arms crossed, an expression of firm resistance on their faces. Several are dancing, or kicking up their legs, or playfully flexing a muscle, or dreamily gazing up into the sky.
Some are merely, you know, goofing around.
“Just looking at these pictures makes me smile,” says Katie DelaVaughn, who conceived of the project, titled “I Am From ... Yo Soy De ...” in which photos of the students are combined with bilingual poetry, inspired by those student’s lives. The exhibit went up over the weekend, and reception was held Wednesday, May 9.
Loma Vista Immersion Academy employs a form of “enrichment education” in which students are instructed in both English and Spanish. Letting the community know about the program was part of the reason DelaVaughn approached the Library to see if they would host an exhibition of the lively and exuberant art pieces.
“The idea,” says DelaVaughn, “was that we have such a unique program here, let’s find a way to share it with the community.”
According to DelaVaughn, the Petaluma Arts Association made the exhibit possible through an arts grant, announced last fall, funding the creation of a photo-literacy project in which the students would all participate. Since then DelaVaughn — a Loma Vista parent and a teaching artist at the school — has been hard at work coordinating the project, in which each student was photographed, the portraits were then reproduced on metal, and finally poems, written by the students in English and Spanish, were layered on top of the photo.
“There were different suggested topics for the poems, and one of was ‘favorite places in town,’ ” says DelaVaughn. “So they wrote poems talking about everywhere from Shollenberger Park and the skate park and the bowling alley, to Lala’s Creamery and the Sweet Shop and Fourth and Sea. In other poems, they reflect on their lives and their cultures and their dreams.”
Though the art show will come down at the end of the month, DelaVaughn says she hope it have other homes in the community after that.
“One of the goals,” she says, “is to have this collection of pieces always be up, somewhere in town. We’ll see how it all plays out, but I do think that’s going to happen.”
(Email David at email@example.com)
SEE IT FOR YOURSELF
What: ‘I Am From … Yo Say De …” an exhibit of photography and poetry
Where: Petaluma Regional Library, 100 Fairgrounds Drive.
When: The show runs through May 31, and is open during regular library hours.
Information: (707) 763-9801