SHERIDAN – Kids grow up fielding the same question from kindergarten until college graduation – what do you want to be when you grow up? Local fifth-grade students received a taste of their futures through the weeklong All-Schools Fifth Grade Student Art Show at The Brinton Museum in Big Horn. Fifth-graders from elementary schools around Sheridan County currently display an array of artwork in the Jacomien Mars Reception Gallery, experiencing what it might be like if dreams of becoming artists come true.
“One of the reasons we do this particular show is that it’s a great opportunity for the fifth-grade students to experience showing their work in a museum,” Brinton curator Barbara McNab said during the Feb. 10 opening reception. “It’s great for the self-esteem. It’s fun to have them here.”
Alyvia Cooper, an 11-year-old attendee of Meadowlark Elementary School, completed her mystical, Van Gogh-inspired piece with pastels.
“I like drawing waterfalls and it’s just really fun, and unicorns and all that mythical stuff,” Cooper said.
Inspired and encouraged by her mother, who also serves as an art teacher, Cooper sees art as a possible future career path. Wearing a unicorn T-shirt, Cooper said she likes viewers to enter a world that combines reality with mystics.
“You’re in a cove and there’s branches and vines all around and there’s steam coming up from the waterfall,” Cooper said, explaining her piece. “Somebody could walk in and be like ‘oh, it’s a magical cave’ or something.”
Watercolor remains her favorite medium, as it comes to life with a little bit of scientific magic.
“It’s fun to create because you can do anything. You can get a color and then put rubbing alcohol on it and then it spreads. It can look really cute. It could really look lifelike because drops of it spread it around,” Cooper said.
Right now, though, Cooper continues to learn new techniques and strategies from her mom and art teacher while also experimenting with her own ideas.
“(I like creating art for) the creativity and the fun of it,” Cooper said. “If you don’t have anything to do, it’s just easy to make up random things and find things to do for it.”
Taking after Dad
Highland Park Elementary’s May Lawson also gains inspiration from a parent who creates art for a living. Born and raised in Sheridan, T. Allen Lawson shows work in public collections in Cody, Denver, Maine, New York, Connecticut and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. May Lawson sees her passion for art as a talent that comes naturally.
“He’s inspired me but it sort of comes naturally, I guess,” Lawson said.
Her piece featured oil pastel sunflowers in vibrant colors reflecting “dark and light sunsets.”
“Our project was to do a Van Gogh flowers, so abstract with different colors,” Lawson said.
While she may start with simple sunflowers, Lawson looks to continue in her father’s footsteps as an artist.
“I will probably like to do animals and landscapes like my dad,” Lawson said.
The next Coco Chanel
Quiet Coffeen Elementary fifth-grader Morgan Anderson completed the flower drawing class assignment but holds bigger dreams for a future in fashion.
“I like to make fashion designs,” Anderson said. “I usually do dresses, mainly black or multicolored.”
Her multicolored oil pastel flower for the art show displays her love of bright, bold color schemes. Her favorite clothing design thus far includes a multicolored dress laden with intermixed pinks, blues and oranges.
The inspiration to turn a fifth-grade passion of art into a fashion career spurred from an unwanted magazine from her mother.
“My mom, she gets a New York magazine and there was a fashion one she didn’t want so she gave it to me. I got a lot of good ideas from it,” Anderson said.
Anderson still needs to learn how to sew, but that does not stop her from continuing her designs.
See it for yourself
The Brinton Museum features the All-Schools Fifth-Grade Student Art Show until Feb. 17 for anyone wanting to visit. The Brinton Museum remains open Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. through March 15.