All eyes were on the Rye Neck District Elementary School Art Show May 8-10 at F.E. Bellows. Coordinated by art teachers Michele Berman and Phyllis Norman, this year’s exhibit was bittersweet for both.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
All eyes were on the Rye Neck District Elementary School Art Show May 8-10 at F.E. Bellows. Coordinated by art teachers Michele Berman and Phyllis Norman, this year’s exhibit was bittersweet for both. Both faculty members are retiring next month after decades of teaching.
“It’s an art dynasty that’s moving on,” said Principal Marge Longabucco. “Michele and Phyllis have raised the rigor in the art curriculum and both will be greatly missed.”
When Berman, who is also Visual Arts Department Chair for grades K through 12, looks back on her time at Rye Neck, she thinks of the many art shows, galleries, murals, totem poles, and professional development committees of which she was a part. She is proudest of the role she has played helping students develop the creative process.
“It’s important to expose children to new things and encourage them to take risks,” offered Berman. “They can make mistakes and learn from them. That’s why pencils have erasers. Students will find their niche and take it with them as they go further.”
The annual show certainly reflected the variety of media, techniques, and concepts involved in all the projects kindergarteners through fifth graders have created. Their works of art were exhibited by grade level, with charts targeting the skill and concepts utilized.
For her part, Norman recalled the Middle School art shows at the Jay Heritage Center she presided over. She also established the Middle School Art and Fashion Clubs.
“These clubs help students through a period of transition before going on to high school. I’m going to miss watching these young people grow,” Norman acknowledged. “I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve had one of the few careers where you always have a new beginning every school year.”
Berman also remarked how much she’ll miss the kids, and added, “It has been a wonderful journey. This has been a second home.”