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Adeline Mitchell (from left), 6, Matilda Mitchell (center), 4, and Jamie Derango (right), 5, work on some clay projects at the Washington Schools’ Fine Arts Gala on Thursday night in Peru. The clay was provided by artist Karen Zeilman (not pictured). There were several other artists in attendance.
Twenty-three grade school children’s interpretations of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” were displayed on a wall of the Washington School gymnasium. This pattern repeated around the gym and throughout the Peru elementary school during Thursday night’s Fine Arts Gala. There were two dozen paintings of red cardinals, each one different; several dozen paper balloons, no two alike; tables of color wheels painted by second graders, similar but not identical. Kayli Marsala, 7, admired the color wheels. “I like it. It’s really creative,” she said. Her air balloon was displayed with others. “It was a hot air balloon and we stuffed newspaper in it and we used warm colors and cool colors,” Kayli said. She perused the artwork with her parents, Jen and Jake. “It’s amazing,” Jake Marsala said. “I think it’s neat to see all the kinds of artwork,” Jen Marsala said. “They did a very good job setting it up.” The artwork was from Northview and Washington students, grade 4 and under. Art instructor Sarah Wick coaxed students creativity. “I tried to do a lot of no-fail projects just to help build their confidence and so they’re happy with their finished pieces,” Wick said. On a table, third grade students’ colorful rain sticks lay in rows. The students also learned about Chilean Indians use of rain sticks while creating this project. Teachers and staff wore tuxedo-patterned t-shirts. In the cafeteria a cellist played for art appreciators as they snacked on cookies and sipped from champagne glasses — plastic champagne glasses filled with lemonade. There were artists and performers from Illinois Valley Community College demonstrating their craft. Dawn Lockwood and her son Eric, who attends Washington, admired the works. “It’s a great way to celebrate the arts,” Dawn Lockwood said.