Wednesday, September 29, 2004

AYS - Hubbard and Cravens, 49th and Pennsylvania - Sept. 29, 20004 - 3 stars

Three energized paintings by students from three schools that participate in AYS (At Your School) after-school cultural arts programs just so happen to be a pretty good match for the coffee shop interior. "African Musical Family" by Stony Creek Elementary School kindergartners in Noblesville has a hot chocolate-colored background on which bold black outlined drums seem to wigggle in some musical unison. It's lively and playful. "Massai Warrior Shield" by Washington Woods Elementary students is almost a step-by-step lesson on how to compose. A black outlined shield image lays on top of a colorful striped, stylized, Kente cloth-like background that contrasting swipes and strokes of color have been layered on top of to create depth. It's a great way to teach freedom and control with a paint brush. All three works were inspired directly by the African drumming lessons on djembes the students received from local percussionist Lawrence Clark. The paintings truly reflect the spirit and presence of drums. The efforts by Shamrock Springs in Westfield, "Masks of Luck," likewise builds on the African arts theme in a way that any anstract expressionist would commend. Action painting in reds, blues and greens revolve around kid-rendered images of African masks. It's like one big rhythmic burst created by many, many hands. All three paintings were group efforts among student participants who learned color, contrast, illusion and painting through these uninhibited exercises. Through September; 317-251-5161. - Mary Lee Pappas

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